Blainville’s beaked whale Fun Fact

Beaked whales are not always so easy to recognize at species level when out in the ocean. Males are a bit easier if you are lucky enough to see the mouth and the teeth, a species specific feature in terms of position, size and shape. However, the Blainville’s beaked whale is probably among the easiest to identify due to a markedly curved lower jaw in both sexes and especially in males.

In the case of males Blainville’s beaked whale, the teeth are prominent, curved and positioned midway on top of the arched lower jaw. They are often colonized by stalked barnacles.


Blainville’s beaked whale with prominent lower jaw, from which two teeth erupts


Blainvilles’ beaked whales are also the most known in terms of ecology and behaviour at least the population in the Bahamas where they show high site fidelity and adults are organized in “harems” where males exhibit females defense strategy.

They tend to perform a series of short dives followed by longer dives of about 50min. When diving less than 170m they are mostly silent likely to avoid been heard by predators (Aguilar de Soto et al 2011). Their body is often scarred by the typical rounded cookie-cutter sharks lesions.


Blainville’s beaked whale breaching and showing cookie-cutter sharks lesions (source


This species occur in temperate and tropical waters of all oceans and it is also the most tropical of the genus it belongs to, the Mesoplodon. These whales are mostly found offshore in deep waters, but they may sometimes occur reasonably close to shore, especially around oceanic islands like in the case of the Azores where deep waters are relatively close to the coast.


Two Blainville’s beaked whales just outside Ponta Garça, São Miguel, Azores


Just like all beaked whale species they are particularly sensitive to noise.





Arianna Cecchetti

About Arianna Cecchetti

Arianna is a Marine Biologist and was Main Guide at TERRA AZUL since 2009, and Technical & Scientific Director until 2018. Originally from Italy, she sees herself more as a world citizen. Arianna deserves the very best, and we hope she can come back to share her passion for the sea with us again.

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