ON bryde's whale. 1073 61. On the External Chafacters and Biology o£ Bryde^s Whale (Balcenoptera hrydei *), a new Rorqual from the Coast o£ South Africa. By 0kjan Olsen, Zoological Laboratory, Christiania University f. [Received June 27, 1913 : Read November 25, 1913.] (Plates OlX.-CXIII.t) Index. Page Salcenoptera hrydei 1074 Distribution 1082 Introductory remarks. Before the JSTorwegian whaling trade started in South Africa in 1909, opportunities for studying whales from that part of the world seldom occurred, but when at rare intervals one of the bigger whales was stranded on the S. African coast, if it was not at once eaten by sharks it was, as a rule, quickly destroyed by the warm climate and heavy sea breaking on the beach. The country is very extensive, the communication along the sea-shore bad, and journeys difficult and expensive. If, there-fore, one of the few scientists of the country received a report of a stranded whale, it was as a rule impossible for him to reach the spot before it was too late. So when we take all these difficulties into consideration it is not surprising that the bigger whales from this part of the world have remained unknown until quite recently. Mr. W. L. Sclater has only the following to say about the genn^ Balmnoptera in the standard work ' Fauna of South Africa' (1901) : — " Fin-whales are not uncommon off the coast of S. Africa, but so far as I know, no specimen has ever been secured for a museum, or been examined by a competent authority." After this he gives the characteristics of the four northern fin-whales, in order to facilitate comparison with the Cape species of the same genus. The South African whaling industry was fovuided by Consul Johan Bryde, from Sandefjord, Norway, who in 1909 erected the first factory in Durban and another in the following year in Saldanha Bay on the west coast. When the Norwegian whalers returned home after having finished their first season in Saldanha Bay, they mentioned a whale which had been found outside the latter place, and which was very similar to the " seihval " (Balcpiioptera horealis). As the " seihval " (Rudolphi's whale) had been only known * [I have consulted the issue of the Norwegian newspaper 'Tidens Tegn' dated November 12th, 1912, in which this name was first published hy the author. Technicalljr the species dates from the description in that Journal, but no details are given there which are not fully explained here. — Editoe.J t Communicated by the Secebtaet. J For explanation of the Plates see pp. 1089, 1090.