Northern Bottlenose Whale

By 11/06/2020Mammals

Northern Bottlenose Whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, are endemic to the North Atlantic Ocean and have an estimated population of at least 10 000 individuals. They are the largest beaked whales that can be spotted in Azores.

Northern Bottlenose Whale spy-hopping. Photo credit: Pierre Jaquet.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Latin name : Hyperoodon ampullatus
  • Suborder : Odotonceti
  • Family: Ziphiidae
  • Length : up to 10 meters
  • Weight : up to 3.6 tons
  • Dive time : up to 120 minutes
  • Dive depth: up to 1 400 meters
  • IUCN Status: Data deficient

Worldwide distribution of Northern and Southern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon spp.). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals IIIrd Ed. Bernd Würsig, I. G. M. Thewissen & KIT M. Kovacs

 

DESCRIPTION

Color: Dark-brown Back, and slightly paler belly. Usually old males have a white patch on their head.
Head: pronounced sexual dimorphism: small melon and uniform color (female); distinctive bulbous melon and white patch on the head (male).
Fins: Falciform dorsal fin on the two-thirds of the back.
Teeth: One pair of teeth at the tip of the lower jaw (mature male).

 

LIFE HISTORY

DIET

Northern Bottlenose Whale mainly feed on squid, but also on small fish and benthic organisms.

 

REPRODUCTION

Sexual maturity is reached at the age of 8-14 years (female) and 7-9 years old (male).The gestation lasts about 12 months. Females usually give birth every 2-3 years. At birth, calves measure around 3 meters in length. Mating and calving occurs in April-Juin.

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR

They are usually in pod of 4-10 individuals. Northern Bottlenose Whales live in mixed age groups during the reproductive season. Scarring is typical, especially on males, due to social aggressive behavior.

 

Northern Bottlenose Whale adult males pod. Photo credit: Andreas Maeker.

VOCAL BEHAVIOR

The Northern Bottlenose Whales’ communication behavior seem restricted to high frequencies whistles (24 kHertz) and echolocation clicks. You can listen to their calls in this recording from Canadian waters.

 

 

Top cover illustrations by Uko Gorter. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals IIIrd Ed. Bernd Würsig, I. G. M. Thewissen & KIT M. Kovacs.
Marylou

About Marylou

Marylou is a Marine Biologist and Master in Oceanography. She is one of our Marine Wildlife Guide at TERRA AZUL. She studied in Canada and Belgium, but is originally from France, and enjoys being out to sea everyday with whales & dolphins.

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