Blainville's beaked whale

Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), or the dense-beaked whale, is the widest ranging mesoplodont whale and perhaps the most documented.

The body of Blainville's beaked whale is robust, but also somewhat compressed laterally compared with other mesoplodonts. The males have a highly distinctive appearance, the jaws overarch the rostrum, like a handful of other species, but does it towards the beginning of the mandible and then sloped down into a moderately long beak. Before the jaw sloped down, a forward-facing, barnacle infested tooth is present. One of the more remarkable features of the whale is the extremely dense bones in the rostrum, which have a higher density and mechanical stiffness than any other bone yet measured. At present, the function of these bones is unknown, as the surrounding fat and the brittleness of the bone make it unlikely to be used for fighting. It has been suggested that it may play a role in echolocation or as ballast, but without sufficient behavioral observation, this cannot be confirmed. The melon of the whale is flat and hardly noticeable. Coloration is dark blue/gray on top and lighter gray on the bottom, and the head is normally brownish. Males have scars and cookie cutter shark bites typical of the genus.

Blainville's beaked whale
  • Size

    Males reach at least 4.4 m (14 ft 6 in) and 800 kg (1800 pounds), whereas females reach at least 4.6 m (15') and 1 tonne (2200 pounds). Juveniles are 1.9 m long (6 ft 4 in) when born and weigh 60 kg (130 lb).

  • Feeding

    It probably feeds mainly on squid; the stomach
    of one stranded individual contained only squid.

  • Life History

    Very little is known about the life histories of beaked whales.There are currently no data available on their reproductive rates.

  • Behavior

    The whales are seen in groups of three to seven individuals. Dives have been measured to at least 22 minutes. When the cetacean surfaces, it does so slowly and with little splashing, research has shown that these whales typically fall silent above 170 meters, probably in order to avoid Orcas from preying on them.