Spade-toothed whale

Until 2012, nothing was known about this species other than cranial and dental anatomy. There are some differences between it and other mesoplodonts, such as the relatively large width of the rostrum. Its appearance might be most similar to an oversized ginkgo-toothed beaked whale in overall shape, as their skulls are quite alike except in size. The distinguishing character are the very large teeth, 23 cm (9 inches), close in size to those of the strap-toothed whale. The teeth are much wider than those of the strap-toothed, and a peculiar denticle on the tip of the teeth present on both species is much more pronounced in the spade-toothed whale. The common name was chosen because in life the part of the tooth that protrudes from the gums, (unlike the strap-like teeth of strap-toothed whales) has a shape similar to the tip of a flensing spade as used by 19th-century whalers.

Spade-toothed whale
  • Size

    The only known complete specimens are a 5.3 m (17.4 ft) adult female and her 3.5 m (11.5 ft) male calf.

  • Feeding

    It is presumably similar to other medium-sized Mesoplodon, which are feeding on cephalopods and small fish.

  • Life History

    This species has never been seen alive, so nothing is known of its life.

  • Behavior

    This species has never been seen alive, so nothing is known of its behavior. It is presumably similar to other medium-sized Mesoplodon, which are typically deep-water species living alone or in small groups.