Marine Mammals of India

Marine Mammals of India

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Table of Contents

List of Plates

About the Author.

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From the back cover

"The intelligent dolphins, the giant whales and the inoffensive Dugong or Sea-cow are among the most fascinating creatures in the wild. Every aspect of their way of life is astonishing - some of them use sound to "see" in the water, some of them dive to incredible depths in search of food, and some of them sing complex songs. Marine mammals are so intriguing that worldwide there is a multi-million dollar industry in just watching these animals. Yet, in India few are aware that there are many of these creatures in the seas around the country - a full fourth of the world's 120 or so species, in fact. This is due to a lack of information; no book published so far covers this group of Indian wildlife adequately.

This book is meant for a wide range of readers including children, wildlife enthusiasts and serious students.

A significant part of the book is devoted to the more than 30 species accounts, making the book a useful reference. Glimpses of the lifestyles of marine mammals are given through several essays dealing, for example, with the phenomenon of mass strandings of whales or the reputed ferocity of the Killer Whale. Further, colour illustrations and character matrices meant for easy identification make the book a useful field guide, while the extensive bibliography makes it a valuable research aid. The accounts of whaling and threats faced by marine mammals highlight the conservation requirements of these animals."

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LIST OF PLATES                                               xiii
FOREWORD                                                       xv
INTRODUCTION                                                 xvii
GLOSSARY                                                      xxi
KEY TO DESCRIPTIVE TERMS                                    xxiii
MARINE MAMMAL RESEARCH IN INDIA                                 6
WHALING AND THE DECLINE OF WHALES                              10
WHALE-WATCHING                                                 16
Order CETACEA: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises                  21
Suborder Odontoceti: Toothed Whales                            23
     The Big Bang Theory and Seeing with Sound                 24
Family Delphinidae: Marine Dolphins                            27
     Rescued by Dolphins                                       29
     The Intelligence of Dolphins                              30
     Rough-toothed Dolphin   Steno bredanensis  (Lesson 1828)  31
     Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin   Sousa chinensis        32
       (Osbeck 1765)
     Striped Dolphin   Stenella coeruleoalba   (Meyen 1833)    36
     Spotted Dolphin   Stenella attenuata   (Gray 1846)        37
     Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin   Stenella longirostris      39
       (Gray 1828)
     Common Dolphin   Delphinus delphis   (Linnaeus 1758)      42
     Bottlenose Dolphin   Tursiops truncatus                   45
       (Montagu 1821)
     Fraser's Dolphin   Lagenodelphis hosei   (Fraser 1956)    49
     Melon-headed Whale   Peponocephala electra                51
       (Gray 1846)
     Irrawaddy Dolphin   Orcaella brevirostris   (Gray 1886)   52
     False Killer Whale   Pseudorca crassidens   (Owen 1846)   55
     Mass Strandings                                           58
     Killer Whale   Orcinus orca   (Linnaeus 1758)             60
     The Ferocity of the Killer Whale                          62
     Risso's Dolphin   Grampus griseus   (G. Cuvier 1812)      65
     Short-finned Pilot Whale   Globicephala macrorhynchus     66
       (Gray 1846)
     Pygmy Killer Whale   Feresa attenuata   (Gray 1827)       69
     Undeceiving Ourselves                                     70
Family Phocoenidae: Porpoises                                  71
     Finless Porpoise   Neophocaena phocaenoides               72
       (G. Cuvier 1829)
Family Physteridae: Sperm Whales                               76
     Sperm Whale   Physeter macrocephalus   (Linnaeus 1758)    77
     Deep Diving                                               81
     Pygmy Sperm Whale   Kogia breviceps   (Blainville 1838)   83
     Dwarf Sperm Whale   Kogia simus  (Owen 1866)              84
Family Ziphiidae: Beaked Whales                                87
     Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale   Mesoplodon ginkgodens       88
       (Nishiwaki and Kamiya 1958)
     Longman's Beaked Whale   Mesoplodon pacificus             89
       (Longman 1926)
     Blainville's Beaked Whale   Mesoplodon densirostris       90
       (Blainville 1817)
     Cuvier's Beaked Whale   Ziphius cavirostris               91
       (G. Cuvier 1823)
     Southern Bottlenose Whale   Hyperoodon planifrons         93
       (Flower 1882)
Suborder Mysticeti: Baleen Whales                              95
     Longevity and age determination                           97
Family Balaenopteridae: Rorquals                               98
     Minke Whale   Balaenoptera acutorostrata                 100
       (Lacepede 1804)
     Bryde's Whale Balaenoptera edeni   (Anderson 1879)       102
     Sei Whale   Balaenoptera borealis   (Lesson 1828)        103
     Fin Whale   Balaenoptera physalus   (Linnaeus 1758)      106
     Blue Whale   Balaenoptera musculus   (Linnaeus 1758)     108
     Humpback Whale   Megaptera novaeangliae                  112
       (Borowski 1781)
     Whale sounds and songs                                   115
     Table of unidentified baleen whales recorded in India    117
Family Balaenidae: Right Whales                               122
     Black Right Whale   Balaena glacialis   (Mueller 1776)   123
Order SIRENIA                                                 125
Family Dugongidae: Dugong                                     126
     Dugong   Dugong dugon   (Mueller 1776)                   127
THREATS FACED BY MARINE MAMMALS                               133
IDENTIFICATION AID                                            147
SOURCES                                                       158
INDEX OF COMMON NAMES                                         175
INDEX OF LOCAL NAMES                                          178
INDEX OF SCIENTIFIC NAMES                                     179
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    1. Common Dolphin    Delphinus delphis
    2. Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin    Stenella longirostris
    3. Striped Dolphin    Stenella coeruleoalba
    4. Spotted Dolphin    Stenella attenuata
    1. Rough-toothed Dolphin    Steno bredanensis
    2. Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin    Sousa chinensis
    3. Bottlenose Dolphin    Tursiops truncatus
    4. Fraser's Dolphin    Lagenodelphis hosei
    1. Irrawady Dolphin    Orcaella brevirostris
    2. Risso's Dolphin    Grampus griseus
    3. Finless Porpoise    Neophocaena phocaenoides
    1. Pygmy Killer Whale    Feresa attenuata
    2. False Killer Whale    Pseudorca crassidens
    3. Melon-headed Whale    Pepnocephala electra
    4. Short-finned Pilot Whale    Globicephala macrorhynchus
    1. Pygmy Sperm Whale    Kogia breviceps
    2. Dwarf Sperm Whale    Kogia simus
    1. Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale    Mesoplodon ginkgodens
    2. Blainville's Beaked Whale    Mesoplodon densirostris
    3. Cuvier's Beaked Whale    Ziphius cavirostris
    4. Southern Bottlenose Whale    Hyperoodon planifrons
    1. Minke Whale    Balaenoptera acutorostrata
    2. Bryde's Whale    Balaenoptera edeni
    3. Sei Whale    Balaenoptera borealis
    4. Fin Whale    Balaenoptera physalus
    5. Blue Whale    Balaenoptera musculus
    1. Humpback Whale    Megaptera noaeangliae
    2. Black Right Whale    Balaena glacialis
    1. Sperm Whale    Physeter macrocephalus
    1. Killer Whale    Orcinus orca
    1. Dugong    Dugong dugon
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About the Author (from the back cover)

Kumaran Sathasivam obtained his B Tech in Naval Architecture from IIT Madras in 1985. In 1989, he was awarded the M S (by research) in Entrepreneurship by IIT Madras. He taught Environmental Science at Kodaikanal International School.

His first book, A Forest in the City (CBT, New Delhi), won the first prize in the 1989 all-India competition "Our Environment". He has also published in journals like the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, Blackbuck and Newsletter for Birdwatchers.

In 2002, as a Global Fellowship recipient, he studied marine mammals at Duke University Marine Laboratory in the USA. The status of marine mammals in Indian waters has motivated Kumaran to plan a marine mammal conservation network in India, to share information and help conserve them.

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How to Order

To order the book from the US, please email me (

The price of the book is US $29.95, inclusive of shipping. (Check the price in your local currency using the Currency Converter.)

Shipping to destinations in the US will be by USPS Priority Mail with Tracking/Delivery Confirmation.

Shipping to destinations outside the US will be by USPS Global Priority Mail where available, and USPS Global Airmail everywhere else. Please note, there is no Tracking or Delivery Confirmation available with these services.

We can explore other options such as Registered Mail or Fedex, but there will definitely be an additional shipping charge.

If you are in India, you can visit the Distributor's website.

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