A note on strandings and age of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) on the Brazilian coast

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Renata M. A. Ramos
Salvatore Siciliano
Monica Borobia
Alexandre N. Zerbini
Jose Luis A. Pizzorno
Ana Bernadete L. Fragoso
Jose Lailson-Brito Jr.
Alexandre de Freitas Azevedo
Paulo Cesar Simoes-Lopes
Marcos Cesar de Oliveira Santos


This note compiles recorded strandings of sperm whales on the Brazilian coast. A known total of 95 sperm whales (62 single and one mass stranding of 33 individuals) stranded along the Brazilian coast from 1967-2000. A higher incidence of single strandings was observed in northeastern Brazil ( ~ 05°-17°S). No strandings occurred in lower latitudes ( < 14°S) from June-September. The seasonal and spatial pattern observed by the reported strandings may indicate higher stranding rates in higher latitudes ( ~ 18-25°S) between June and August (winter) and in lower latitudes ( ~ 3-7°S) between January and April (summer and spring). Strandings of smaller sperm whales (3-4.5m) were observed during the austral summer and autumn, indicating seasonality in the birth season. Growth-layer counts of three specimens provide the first data on age of sperm whales for Brazil.

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