Blainvilles Beaked Whale
Whale Watching South Africa

Name : Blainville's Beaked Whale
Scientific Name : Mesoplodon densirostris
Class : Mammalia (Type) - Beaked whale
Family : Ziphiidae
Order : Cetacea (suborder) - Odontoceti
Shape : Blainvilles Beaked Whale is one of the oddest looking of all cetaceans. Flattened forehead and large spots all over its body, possibly made by the teeth of sharks and parasites, are also characteristic. Large teeth erupt from arched lower jaw, like a couple of horns; these may be so encrusted with barnacles that the animal appears to have 2 dark-coloured pompoms on top of its head. Robust, spindle-shaped body.
Fins : Small flippers. Prominent, carved or triangular dorsal fin. Flukes have dark upper sides, and light undersides with no notch, but some may have a slight bulge or small nick.
Length : Adults measure between 4.5 - 6 metres and newborns 1.9 - 2.6 metres.
Weight : Adults weigh 1 ton and newborns 60 kg.
Colour : Female lighter in colour than male. Tan or greyish-white blotches all over body. Light patch on underside with dark bluish-grey upper side which may darken with age.
Diet : Small fishes and octopus.
Population : The species was named densirostris, meaning 'dense beak', because the original description was based on a small but extremely heavy piece of upper jaw; it was later realized that this whale has the densest bones in the animal kingdom.
Habits : Performs series of shallow dives. On surfacing, beak appears first, pointing skyward; after taking a breath, it is sometimes slapped against the surface of the water, and the animal may roll slightly before disappearing. Travel in groups of 1 - 6 or 1 - 12.

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