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


Whale (Gray's beaked whale) Mesoplodon grayi

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Ziphiidae
Genus: Mesoplodon
Species: M. grayi
Binomial name: Mesoplodon grayi
Common name: Gray's beaked whale, Southern Beaked Whale, Haast’s beaked whale, Scamperdown whale, Small-toothed beaked whale.

Gray's beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi) is primarily a southern hemisphere cool temperate species, primarily occurring in deep waters beyond the edge of the continental shelf, between 30 and 45°, and is typically observed at depths of 2,000 m. 
Gray's beaked whale is very gregarious they have a tendency to strand in large groups, one involving 28 individuals. Other strandings have involved five to eight animals. 
Gray's beaked whales can obtain a length of 5.6 m and can weigh >1100 kg. They have small heads with a flat forehead. The beak is long and slender beak with a straight jawline. In adults, the beak becomes white with age. Mature male Gray’s beaked whales possess a single pair of functional teeth, which are triangular in shape and located midway along the lower jaw and can be seen when the mouth is closed. Both the male and female have rows of non-functional tiny teeth in the upper jaw. 
The whale’s body is mostly grey, white patches are found in the genital region. The small dorsal fin is set quite far back on the body, the tail is unnotched, and the small flippers fit into depressions in the body, reducing water resistance when the whale is swimming.

They have a dark blue-grey, brown-grey or black on the upper side and the belly is pale grey with white or yellow spots on the underside and sides. Adult males often carry linear scars that probably result from fighting, and both males and females may display circular scars from cookiecutter shark bites.
Gray’s beaked whales are thought to feed mainly on cephalopods in deep waters.  

Surrounded by onlookers, university researchers conduct an autopsy on a female Gray's beaked whale, stranded on Sunset Beach, Port Waikato, New Zealand. Another stranded whale lies in front.


The long straight jaw.








Diagram of a beaked whale and a human diver: the whale is not quite three times the length of the human.

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