New Population of Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins Found in the Philippines

Irrawaddy dolphins found off the coast of the Island Palawan

by Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan / WWF

April 2013. - A new population of critically-endangered Irrawaddy dolphins has been found in the Philippines by Mavic Matillano of the WWF Palawan team. Spotted by chance off Palawan - along the coastline of the West Philippine Sea - this pod of rare marine mammals, locally called Lampasut, was observed displaying typical behaviour, foraging for prey around lift net fish traps sitting approximately one kilometre offshore.

Previous populations of these dolphins - gifted with features that offer the barest hint of a congenial smile - have been documented in Malampaya Sound, as well as off the island of Panay. The Quezon pod represents the fourth known group of Irrawaddy dolphins reported in the Philippines…

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(photo: WWF-Philippines / Mavic Matillano)

Great news!


Starfish, sea star, or asteroid? Asking what these star-shaped echinoderms should be called is a good way to get scientists fired up! They’re not fish, so should they be called “starfish?” They’re not really stars, and most people called them starfish, so should they really be called “sea stars?” And asteroids are those rocks in space, silly!

Starfish and echinoderm expert Chris Mah of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History weighs the arguments in his latest post on the Echinoblog. Which term will he choose?

Photo: Steve Mohundro

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