Bryde’s Whale, Durban, South Africa

The Bryde’s whale complex (/ˈbruːdə/ brew-də) comprises two putative species of rorqual: Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera brydei, Olsen, 1913), a larger form that occurs worldwide in warm temperate and tropical waters, and the sittang or Eden’s whale (B. edeni, Anderson, 1878), a smaller form that may be restricted to the Indo-Pacific. There is also a smaller, coastal form of B. brydei off southern Africa, and perhaps another form in the Indo-Pacific which differs in skull morphology, tentatively referred to as the Indo-Pacific Bryde’s whale. The recently described Omura’s whale (B. omurai, Wada et al. 2003), was formerly considered a “pygmy” form of Bryde’s, but is now recognized as a distinct species.

B. brydei gets its specific and common name from Johan Bryde, Norwegian consul to South Africa who helped establish the first modern whaling station in the country, while B. edeni gets its specific and common name from Sir Ashley Eden, former High Commissioner of Burma (Myanmar). Sittang whale refers to the type locality of the species.

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