Blainville’s Beaked Whale – Detail Page

Description

blainville's beacked whaleSize: length: 4 to 5 m (~13.1 to 16.4 ft). Weight: 800 to 1,000 kg (~1763.7 to 2204.6 lbs).

Body shape: medium-sized, round body with a flat forehead and longish bill. The small triangular dorsal fin is located on the lower back.

Coloring: brown gray to blue gray uppersides, light grey face and undersides, The dorsal fin is darker, and the eyes have darker shin around them. Males are usually heavily scarred.

Distinct features: 1) they have a V-shaped pair of throat grooves that aid with suction feeding; and 2) males have a strongly curved lower jaw that raises above the upper jaw, as well as large, prominent pair of tusk-like teeth (up to 20 cm [~7.9″] in length) that protrude from bulges in the lower jaw. Female’s teeth remain hidden, and their jawline is less curved.

Species Ecology

Feeding

  • Prey: squid and deep-water fish.
  • Feeding technique: locates prey by echolocation and catches it using suction. Their ventral throat grooves help them to suction feed.

Life History

  • Sexual maturity: believed that females reach it at 9 years of age.
  • Mating season: unknown.
  • Gestation period: unknown.
  • Calving season: unknown.
  • Number of calves: unknown. Breeding interval and nursing timeline unknown.

Life expectancy: unknown.

Additional information

Range

  • Extensive range; found in warm temperate and tropical oceans around the world. There is no known migration or seasonal movements.

Habitat

  • Deep, offshore waters.

Island status

  • Uncommon.

Conservation status

  • IUCN Red List: Classified as Data Deficient.
  • CITES: Listed in Appendix II.
  • Protected from legal hunting in US waters under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972).

Local Research and Conservation Efforts The Bonaire Coastal Dolphin Project has been surveying dolphins since 2008. More recently (2011), the St. Maarten Nature Foundation launched the Marine Mammal Monitoring project, which takes place every year from February to May, and is a wide scale census of all marine mammals found within the territorial waters of St. Maarten/St.Martin. Did You Know?

  • The teeth of males, which point up above the head and look like tusks, are often covered with barnacles.
  • The jawbone of Blainville’s beaked whale has a greater density than elephant ivory.
  • Blainville’s whales are deep divers; they typically dive up to 1,000 m (~3281 ft) but can dive up to 1,400 m (~4593 ft).

Sources marinebio.org www.marinemammalscience.org www.nmfs.noaa.gov www.arkive.org species-identification.org www.beakedwhaleresource.com www.cascadiaresearch.org