Sea background
Bootlenose whale

Bottlenose whales are toothed whales although they do in fact not have many teeth. The bull has only one tooth while the cow has none. They are among the largest toothed whales and the males can reach up to 10 m length. The females are smaller or 9 m max.
They are similar in size as minke whales, which is in fact among the smallest of baleen whales. These two species are somewhat similar at first sight when only the back is seen. The bottlenose whales is however easily distinguished by its bottle nosed face.
Bottlenose whales have never been hunted in large numbers by Icelanders, only when rarely they have been seen close to shore. It was for example mentioned that they were occasionally hunted in Eyjafjörður during the 17th and 18th century.
However, Norwegians hunted bottlenose whales in deep waters north and northeast off Iceland from the mid-19th century until the 1929´s. The bottlenose whale was primarily hunted because of the oil.
Bottlenose whales are curious by nature and known for investigating boats when nearby. They also try to help wounded members of the pod. These two factors also made them easy prey for the whalers.
Bottlenose whales become mature at the age of 8-12. The females have calves every 2 years after 12 months gestation period. The calves are born 2-2,5 m long in April-July. They are probably lactated for one years but can stay with the mother for much longer. The maximum known age for males is 37 years but 27 years for females.
 Bottlenose whales are primarily oceanic and rarely seen close to land except beached dead animals or there is some trouble. The bottlenose whale is with the sperm whale the deepest diving whale known. It is known that they have dived to more than 1 km depth or even more. The major feeding grounds for North Atlantic bottlenose whales are outside the continental shelf, where the depth is more than 1 km. The main food is squid, but other animals, such as fishes, sea cucumbers and sea stars, have also been found in their stomachs.
In the autumn of 2008 five bottlenose whales did stay in the harbour area of Akureyri for many weeks to the enjoyment of the locals. They have been seen in Eyjafjörður every year since then but have only stayed there for short time since. Old annals mention that this has in fact happened several times before.
HV and HÁ

andanefja-1-sha Bottlenose whale jumping near Akureyri town (photo SHA) Bottlenose whale jumping near Akureyri town (photo SHA)


The Fisheries Science Center | University of Akureyri | Borgum v./Norðurslóð | IS 600 Akureyri | Tel: +354 460 8900 | fax +354 460 8919 | E-mail: hreidar(hjá)

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