Journal of Marine Biology & Oceanography ISSN: 2324-8661

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Research Article, J Mar Biol Oceanogr Vol: 6 Issue: 3

The Persian Gulf is Part of the Habitual Range of the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale Population

Seyed Mohammad Hashem Dakhteh1, Sharif Ranjbar2, Mostafa Moazeni3, Nazanin Mohsenian4, Hossein Delshab5, Hamed Moshiri4, Seyed Mohammad B. Nabavi6 and Koen Van Waerebeek7,8*

1Head, Qeshm Environment Administration of the Qeshm Free Area, Qeshm City, Iran

2Department of Marine Biology, Hormozgan University, Hormozgan, Iran

3Head of Asalouyeh Office of the Department of Environment of Bushehr Province, Asalouyeh, Iran

4Plan for the Land Society, Tehran, Iran

5Head of Development of Environment of Bushehr Province, Bushehr, Iran

6Faculty of Marine Science, University of Marine Science and Technology, Khoramshahr, Iran

7Adviser to Marine Mammal Unit, Qeshm Environment Administration of the Qeshm Free Area, Qeshm City, Iran

8Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research/Centro Peruano de Estudios Cetológicos (CEPEC), Lima 20, Peru

*Corresponding Author : Koen Van Waerebeek
Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research/Centro Peruano de Estudios Cetológicos (CEPEC), Lima-20, Peru
Tel: +51 989180339
E-mail: [email protected]

Received: September 18, 2017 Accepted: October 11, 2017 Published: October 18, 2017

Citation: Dakhteh SMH, Ranjbar S, Moazeni M, Mohsenian N, Delshab H, et al. (2017) The Persian Gulf is Part of the Habitual Range of the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale Population. J Mar Biol Oceanogr 6:3. doi: 10.4172/2324-8661.1000178

Abstract

The Persian Gulf is Part of the Habitual Range of the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale Population

The humpback whale has long been considered a rare straggler to the Persian Gulf, however new evidence contradicts this and suggests that this species may be habitually present. We here critically review published and new records for Megaptera novaeangliae occurrence in the Gulf for the period 1883-2017. Of eight authenticated records (6 specimens, 2 live-sightings), seven are contemporary cases while one is a mid-Holocene specimen from UAE. An additional four possible records are based on unsubstantiated reports. Four current, regional range states are confirmed, i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Iraq, the State of Kuwait and the State of Qatar. Four of five newly reported cases are from Iran's coastal waters. We conclude that the Persian Gulf is part of the habitual range of the Arabian Sea humpback whale population, and has been since at least the mid-Holocene. It is unknown whether frequent passage occurs through the Strait of Hormuz or whether humpback whales are (semi) resident. The low abundance of this population and frequent deleterious anthropogenic events, particularly ship strikes and fishing net entanglements, are of major concern. Considering historical and taxonomic relevance, the formal description of Megaptera indica Gervais, 1883, from Iraq, is now thought to be a humpback whale subspecies M. novaeangliae indica.

Keywords: Zoogeography; Persian Gulf; Indian Ocean; Net entanglement; Ship strikes; Morphology

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