|The Mammals of Texas -
Cetacea : Family
Balaenopteridae : Balaenoptera edeni Anderson
Description. Brydes whales are the
second smallest of rorquals and only average 12.2-13.1 m
in length and 12 metric tons in weight. As with all
rorquals, females tend to be a little larger than males.
Maximum length is about 15.5 m.
Brydes whales are unique in
having three head ridges extending from the blowholes to
the end of the rostrum. This is the only baleen whale
with this feature, although several have one such ridge,
and the presence of three head ridges will always
distinguish B. edeni. Coloration is a dark,
bluish-gray overall but somewhat lighter in the throat
area. The dorsal fin is only about 46 cm in height and
rises abruptly from the back. Brydes whales have
ventral pleats extending to, or slightly beyond, the
Distribution in Texas.
Brydes whales are not yet known from Texas, but
have stranded on nearby beaches in Louisiana. It is
probable that one of these whales will one day strand
along the Texas coast.
Habits. Brydes whales
appear to be near-shore, year-round residents of tropical
and subtropical waters. Although most commonly seen in
groups of five to six, large groups of 30-40 have been
observed in areas of food concentrations. This whale
frequently feeds on pelagic fishes such as pilchard,
mackerel, herring, mullet, and anchovies; however,
cephalopods and pelagic crustaceans (krill) are also
Brydes whales are believed to
breed year round and their gestation period is estimated
to be 12 months. Calves are about 4 m long at birth and
weigh 1 metric ton. Sexual maturity is reached at 8-10
years and the animals are about 12 m long at this time.
Remarks. Brydes whales are
one of the more frequently observed baleen whales from
the Gulf of Mexico. These whales have stranded on Gulf
beaches in winter, spring, and summer, indicating that
they may be year-round residents of these waters.
Illustration credit: Pieter