T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Whale (Cuvier’s beaked whale) Ziphius cavirostris

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Ziphiidae
Genus: Ziphius
Species: Z. cavirostris
Binomial name: Ziphius cavirostris
Common names: Cuvier’s beaked whale, Goose-beaked whale 

Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is the only member of the genus Ziphius, is the most widely distributed of all the beaked whales. It is thought that the waters north-east of New Zealand and around the Chatham Islands may be the key habitat for these cryptic species in New Zealand. Cuvier's beaked whales feed on squid and deep-sea fish.
In 2014, scientists reported that they had used satellite-linked tags to track Cuvier's beaked whales and found these species dived up to 2,992 m below the ocean surface and spent up to two hours and 17 minutes underwater before resurfacing, which represent both the deepest and the longest dives ever documented for any mammal. The whales' rib cages can fold down so as to reduce air pockets and decrease buoyancy.

Ziphius cavirostris is a medium-sized whale who body is robust and cigar-shaped, similar to those of other beaked whales an average body length of 6.4 meters. Its dorsal fin is curved, small, and located two-thirds of the body length behind the head. Its flippers are equally small and narrow and can be tucked into pockets in the body wall, presumably to prevent drag while swimming. Like other beaked whales, its flukes are large and lack the medial notch found in all other cetaceans. The head is short with a small, poorly defined rostrum and a gently sloping melon. A pair of throat grooves allows the whale to expand this region when sucking in its prey.
Cuvier's beaked whale has a short beak in comparison with other species in its family, with a slightly bulbous melon, which is white or creamy in colour, and a white strip runs back to the dorsal fin about two-thirds of the way along the back. The rest of the body colour varies by individual: some are dark grey; others are a reddish brown. Individuals commonly have white scars and patches caused by cookie-cutter sharks. The dorsal fin varies in shape from triangular to highly falcate, whilst the fluke is about one-quarter the body length. They live for around 40 years. 

 


Size comparison of an average human and a Cuvier's beaked whale 




Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/