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


Whale (Pygmy Beaked) Mesoplodon peruvianus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Ziphiidae
Genus: Mesoplodon
Species: M. peruvianus
Binomial name: Mesoplodon peruvianus
Common names: Pygmy Beaked Whale, Lesser Beaked Whale, Peruvian Beaked Whale, Bandolero Beaked Whale,

Mesoplodon peruvianus (Pygmy Beaked Whale) is the smallest of the Mesoplodonts and one of the newest discoveries. The pygmy beaked whale was classified as a distinct species in 1991. They are known only from a handful of specimens and several sightings from the eastern tropical Pacific and Gulf of California, as well as off Peru and possibly Chile. 
There is a single record of a one stranding here in New Zealand, possibly suggesting that this species may have a more extensive distribution than previously believed. 

Mesoplodon peruvianus has a small robust body >4.2 m in length and a triangular dorsal fin that is located far down the whales back. Its head is small with a sloping forehead and a bulging melon. They have a relatively narrow beak when compared to other beaked whales. The mouthline is curved. The males have a single tooth protruding on each side of its lower jaw, located about midway down the beak. The females do not have any visible protruding teeth. The flippers are small and are dark in colour. Males have a distinctive, two-tone colouration. 
Beaked whales are renowned for their deep-diving ability, with their diet presumed to be consisting largely of deep-water squid and fish species.

A diagram of Pygmy Beaked Whale showing its size in comparison to a human


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