Kamis, 09 Maret 2017

Zifio De True

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It is one of the most unknown mammals in the world and has only been sighted with life on rare occasions. True beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) forms part of the zyphids (Ziphiidae), the second largest family of cetaceans, to which also belong different species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

There are 22 species of zyphi known, although 17 of them (including the zifio of True) hardly any information. It is known, for example, that they remain submerged in the ocean for a long time and at great depths. Some species spend 92% of their time under water, and are capable of holding up to two hours to about three kilometers deep, a record that has been recorded thanks to devices that have been placed on some specimens. Their exits to the surface between immersion and immersion are scarce and very brief and, unlike dolphins, do not perform acrobatic jumps, so it is very difficult to see them.

True's beard was first described in 1913 by Frederick W. True, curator of the former National Museum of the USA (now the Smithsonian), after examining an adult female who had been stranded the previous year in Beaufort Bay, North). Since then, rare occasions have been observed with life and are not abundant the specimens found after being stranded. Now, a team of researchers presents the first underwater video in which three of these cetacean elusers appear. They have also managed to photograph a young child.

Zifio De True

The recording and the images accompany an investigation, published in the free access magazine Peer J, about patterns or marks observed on their skin that will help distinguish True's zygote from other cetaceans. And it is that these animals have in their skin patterns with varying colors that are shared by other species in their group, which has made it difficult to identify them during the times when they have been seen on the surface of the sea, since only one part from her body.

According to El Mundo, Natacha Aguilar de Soto, co-author of the study, the video was recorded near the coast of the Azores during an educational trip under the Master Mind student program in a small inflatable boat: "Suddenly, three Zifios appeared and began to swim around the boat.A professor who was carrying a small underwater camera recorded the scene.No one in the boat recognized the species of zifio that swam five meters from the boat and no one realized that he was recording the first video "Says the researcher at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. "These students were accidental witnesses of something for which many researchers dedicate their life and have never been able to see," he says.

They know that the three zyphi that appear in the video were adult females or subadultas because they had no teeth in the inferior jaw, like the males, that they do have. "The zygotes are fed by sucking or grabbing their prey, without the use of teeth. This suggests that the teeth are used for clashes between males, just like the big horns of deer," Aguilar suggests. "The three surfaced at once and all of them disappeared at the same time, showing a group coordination typical of the zyphi," adds the researcher.

According to the scientist, it is not common for the zygids to approach boats standing still, sometimes, as on that occasion, they do, probably out of curiosity: "Normally they do not approach the boats, unlike the dolphins, which often They play with the pressure wave that creates the bow in the water as the boat advances, so they are surfing, sailing effortlessly, but this requires a lot of skill and quick maneuverability. , Thanks to this they can take two hours under water because they have a low metabolism, "he explains.

The first breeding photographed

Regarding the photo of the breeding, it was made in another sighting by a company of observation of cetaceans, also near the coast of Azores, on May 22, 2015: "Let us know, is the first photo of a calf Of true zifio, "says Aguilar de Soto.

The Azores and Canary Islands are ideal places to investigate these animals, which usually measure about 5.3 meters in length when they reach maturity (when they are born, they measure around 2.2 meters). Adult females weigh around 1,400 kilograms and males, slightly more than 1,000 kilograms. In the deep waters that surround these islands they find abundant food, like squids and fish that live in the depths of the ocean.

"Of the 22 species of saplings, six have been seen in the Canaries, and two of them, the Cuvier and Blainville saplings, can be seen there all year round, making the Canary Islands a hot spot of saplings worldwide" , Says Aguilar de Soto.

It is also believed that they live in small groups, like the three zifios that appear in the video. Little more is known about these animals because, due to scarce sightings, scientists have few data on their geographical distribution, population or birth rate, key information for their conservation.

Protect them from human impact

The marks or patterns on their skin help to identify them although they seem to differ depending on the specimens, which makes the task difficult. For example, recalls the scientist, "in 2012 an animal was identified on the island of El Hierro that was identified as true zygium, but the white coloration of the head (a white mask that covers up to the snout), had not been observed Before in this species.It was confirmed genetically that it was true zygium and the necropsy, carried out by veterinarians of the Network of Varieties of Cetaceans of the Canary Islands, showed that died of a natural infection.

"Identifying the species is very important because it allows scientists to find out where they live and how many specimens there are during the study campaigns," says the scientist. "For example, there have been massive mortalities associated with naval maneuvers in which powerful sonars have been used to detect submarines," he explains.

"In the Canary Islands, military sonars have not been used since 2004, and since then no more massive atypical strikes have occurred on the islands, which occurred every three years on average, demonstrating the effectiveness of the impact reduction measures. Saplings that roam in the Canaries are the most familiar species of the family, because they are closest to the coast: Blainville's beak and Cuvier's beak. We know that other beaks are also vulnerable to noise, and that mortality can occur (Sea sonars, seismic surveys, explosions, etc.), "he complains." It is important to apply impact reduction measures for any human activity that uses high-intensity sounds at sea (naval sonars, seismic surveys, explosions ...) " The researcher.

They are also vulnerable to plastic waste and deaths from ingestion and entanglement have been recorded. For example, a varied zygote in Norway had a stomach filled with plastic: "As we do not know how many are, it is impossible to know if they are causing a decline in population." This underscores the importance of reducing human impacts now, to safeguard the Species, because in the case of saplings, when we could statistically demonstrate that there is a decline in the population, it would be too late to recover it. "

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