Pygmy beaked whale

The pygmy beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianus), also known as the bandolero beaked whale, Peruvian beaked whale and lesser beaked whale, is the smallest of the mesoplodonts and one of the newest discoveries. There were at least two dozen sightings of an unknown beaked whale named Mesoplodon sp. A before the initial classification, and those are now believed to be synonymous with the species. The species was formally described in 1991, based on ten specimens obtained from Peru between 1976 and 1989, including a 3.72 m (12.2 ft) adult male as the type specimen. A specimen that stranded at Paracas, Peru in 1955 (first tentatively identified as Andrews' beaked whale) has since been identified as a pygmy beaked whale. Since 1987, there have been an additional 40 sightings of the species, for a total of 65 (as of 2001).

The body of the pygmy beaked whale is the rather typical spindle shape of the genus, although the tail is unusually thick. The melon is somewhat bulbous and slopes down into a rather short beak. The mouthline in males has a very distinct arch with two teeth protruding slightly from the gum line before the apex. The coloration is typically dark gray on the top and lighter below, especially on the lower jaw, throat, and behind the umbililicus. Males may have a distinct pale "chevron" patterns on their backs.

Pygmy beaked whale
  • Size

    The size for this species in only around 4 meters (13 feet) long in mature animals, and around 1.6 meters (5.2 ft) when born.

  • Feeding

    Their preferred diet is primarily deep-water squid, but also benthic and benthopelagic fish and some crustaceans, mostly taken near the sea floor.In a recent study, gouge marks in the seafloor were interpreted to be a result of feeding activities by beaked whales.

  • Life History

    Very little is known about the life histories of beaked whales. There are currently no data available on their reproductive rates.

  • Behavior

    Little is known about the group behaviors of this whale, and small groups have been seen. Stomach contents reveal at least one specimen is a fish eater, as opposed to the squid normally eaten by the genus.