Monday, September 24, 2007
Experts are perplexed by a string of blue whale deaths off the coast of Southern California. Judging from their injuries, all of the whales appear to have been struck by vessels in the busy shipping lanes of the Santa Barbara Channel. As to what caused the animals' apparent disorientation prior to the collisions, the leading suspect under investigation is domoic acid, which the Los Angeles Times reports is produced by certain marine algae and acts as a neurotoxin. In this picture, a shark can be seen feeding on the carcass of one of the casualties. Blue whales, thought to be the largest animal ever to exist on Earth, are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.