Reviews of the literature (Saifalla et al. 2002) suggest that 29 species of marine mammals have been observed in Malaysian waters. Of these, thirteen species of whales, dolphins, and dugongs are common in Malaysian waters. The most commonly observed species around Malaysia is Bryde's whale.
Order Sirenia (manatees and dugongs)
There is one member of order Sirenia occurring in Malaysian waters:
Order Cetacea (whales and dolphins)
Commonly observed whales
There are six species of whales that are commonly observed in Malaysian waters:
- Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
- Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
- Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni)
- Northern Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutirostrata)
- Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)
- Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Commonly observed porpoises/dolphins
Six different species of porpoises and dolphins are commonly found in the waters off of Malaysia:
- Indo-pacific humpbacked dolphin (Sousa chinensis)
- Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)
- Finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides)
- Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
- Saddle-backed dolphin (Delphinus delphis)
- Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris)
References and further reading
- Saifullah, A.J, R. Najib, A.A. Suhaime, and U.L. Uhana (2002) Records of Marine Mammals in Penisular Malaysia: A Review,in F.M Yusoff, M. Shariff, H.M. Ibrahim, S.G. Tan, and S.V Tai (eds). Tropical Marine environment: Charting Strategies for the Millennium. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Straits of Malacca. Universiti Putra Malaysia.
- Mazlan, A.G., C.C. Zaidi, W.W. Wan-Lofti, and B.H.R. Othman (2005) On the current status of coastal marine biodiversity in Malaysia. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences 34:76-87.