Blainville’s Beaked Whale


Blainville's Beaked Whale copy

Dense-Beaked Whale

Famiy: Ziphiidae
Genus: Mesoplodon
Species: M. densirostris   (de Blainville, 1817)

Another rare species of beaked whale, Blainville’s beaked whale is known from less than several dozen strandings, and a limited number of confirmed sightings at sea. It is the only animal in its genus known to inhabit the tropical zone, although others may do so.

Physical Description: There is a distinct beak with each corner of the mouth rising to a round contour, most prominent in males. Typical wishbone-shaped grooves are found on the throat. Adult males possess scars all over their body, presumably from fights with other males of their species.

Color: They have a black dorsal region, somewhat lighter ventrally. The entire body may be blotched with lighter colors, and older animals tend to be scarred extensively.

Fins and Flukes: A small dorsal fin is located to the rear of the mid-back region; it may be triangular or falcate. Small flippers are located behind and below the eyes in the lighter region of the flanks. Well developed flukes are pointed at the tips, with a barely discernable median notch.

Length and Weight: They reach at least 17 ft (5.2 m) and an estimated 5,300 lb (2,400 kg). Sexual maturity is reached at about 9 years of age.

Teeth: Males have a 6 in (15 cm) triangular tooth on each side of the mouth; females do not appear to have visible teeth.

Feeding: Small fish, squid and other cephalopods.

Breathing and Diving: Like all beaked whales, these are deep divers, reaching depths of over 4.600 ft (1,400 m) and lasting nearly an hour.

Mating and Breeding: Calves are born at 6 to 8 ft (1.9 to 2,6 m) and 130 lb (60 kg. One calf was sighted in the month of April.

Herding: They are difficult to positively identify at sea because of their skittish nature, but groups seem to average 3 to 7 animals, although larger groups of up to 12 have been observed.

Distribution: Their extensive distribution is cosmopolitan and they are considered the most widely dispersed of all beaked whales. They are known from the Mediterranean, Iceland, England, Nova Scotia, Brazil and South Africa extending to California, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Migration: No information is available.


Blainville's BW Map

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