Pronounced “broo-dess”, the Bryde's whale is named after Johan Bryde, who helped construct the first South African whaling factory in the early 1900s (4). This species is often confused with the slightly larger sei whale(Balaenoptera borealis), but can be distinguished by the three distinctive ridges that run from the tip of the broad rostrum to the rear of the head, level with the two blowholes. Like other rorqual whales, the Bryde's whale has numerous grooves running along the underside of the lower jaw to the belly, which allow this area to expand when the whale swallows water during feeding. The jaws are lined with between 250 and 365 plates of baleen, which bear long, coarse bristles on the inner edge, used for trapping food. The skin of the Bryde's whale is black or dark grey, with white patches on the throat and chin, and may sometimes appear mottled due to pock marks caused by parasites and small sharks (2). The taxonomic status of the Bryde's whale is currently unclear. While there appear to be numerous different forms—occupying separate locations and habitats, and showing variations in size—a consensus has yet to be reached regarding whether they should be classed as subspecies or species (1).
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