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Lesser (Pygmy) Beaked Whale


Scientific Name:
Mesoplodon peruvianus
Length:
4.0 m (13.1 ft)
Weight:
Unknown
Status:
data deficient
Prey:
Small deep-water fish, oceanic squid and shrimp

Physical characteristics

The body has the typical spindle shape of the genus, with an unusually thick tail. The melon is somewhat bulbous and slopes down into a short beak and the mouthline in males has a distinct arch with two teeth protruding slightly from the gum line before the apex. The coloration is typically dark gray on the top and lighter below, especially on the lower jaw, throat, and behind the umbililicus. Males may have distinct pale "chevron" patterns on their backs.

Behavioral characterization

The blow is inconspicuous.

Distribution

Recorded in the eastern tropical Pacific between Baja California and Peru through sightings and strandings. Further strandings have been recorded in Chile and Monterey Bay. Another specimen washed up in New Zealand.

Population size

Unknown

Predators

N/A

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Unknown

Social system/Group size

Usually seen in pairs.

Major threats

Entanglement in fishing gear and anti-shark nets.

Research efforts

N/A

Fun fact

Since 1987, there have been an additional 40 sightings of the species, for a total of 65 (as of 2001).