The larger whales found in the Galapagos islands are both migrants and residents. Not much is know about the resident whales, however, five different areas of the archipelago have been determined as gathering fields for Sperm whales. The most common whales to be seen in the Marine Reserve of the Galapagos are the Rorquals belonging to the family ‘Balaenopteridae’.
Rorquals are the largest group of baleen whales, with nine species in two genera. They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the Blue Whale, which can reach 150 tons and two others that easily pass 50 tons. Even the smallest of the group, the Minke Whale, reaches 9 tons. There are more than six different species of Rorquals reported in the Galapagos waters.
All members of the Rorqual family have a series of longitudinal folds of skin running from below the mouth back to the navel (except the Sei Whale, which has shorter grooves). Rorqual are Baleen whales and are referred to as ‘true whales’.
Even though Killer whales or Orcas are rather dolphins than whales, both are cetaceans. Orcas are found around the islands any time of the year but for short periods that last from two weeks to five or six weeks.
Here are some of the whales that can be seen in the Galapagos waters:
Baleen Whales and Rorqual Whales
Toothed Whales on Galapagos
The toothed whales are less common and for the most part they are just visitors to the islands. However the Galapagos has a resident population of Sperm whales that occur all through the marine reserve. The best time to find another type of toothed whale such as Orcas is from August through October. Below are the three main toothed whales that can be spotted around the Galapagos Islands: