Layards Beaked Whale
Name : Layard's Beaked Whale
Scientific Name : Mesoplodon layardii
Class : Mammalia
Family : Ziphiidae
Order : Cetacea
Shape : The largest member of the genus Mesoplodon, is a relative slender animal with a distinct forehead and a long, slender beak. The line of the mouth is fairly straight, interrupted only in adult males, where a pair of 'strap-like' teeth protrude and curve over the upper jaw to meet slightly in front of the forehead. The purpose of the male's 'strapped teeth' has puzzled zoologists for years.
Fins : A small dorsal fin is set about two-thirds the way down the body.
Length : Maximum length - 6.2 m.
Weight : Maximum weight - 2 t.
Colour : The colour pattern, better known than that of most members of the genus, is complex, the body predominantly dark brownish-grey to black. Much of the underside is a contrasting white, as is the beak and throat. There is also a whitish band around the head, and the back and sides may be spotted with white to light-grey patches.
Diet : Stomach contents of stranded animals indicate a diet mainly of squid.
Habits : Sightings at sea suggest that they occur in small schools of up to three individuals.
Distribution : Unless stranded, Layard's Beaked Whale is unlikely to be seen.
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