The weather is not in our favor this week to go out and see the whales. So instead, we have a fun fact for you about the True’s Beaked Whale!
Beaked whales are really hard to spot at sea, most sightings are very brief and just a matter of luck. Especially for a True’s Beaked Whale it is hard to determine if its truly a True’s beaked whale or a Gervais Beaked Whale, those two are hard to separate. For this, you have to see the head; if you can not see the head it is almost impossible two separate the two. See the images below.
The True’s Beaked Whale is found in two geographically distinct areas, and soon it may be possible that these populations may become a subspecies or even a separate species. If a species get separated they might evolve into two different ones, and get whole other characteristics! Here is an example:
This species has, like other beaked whales, 2 teeth in the front of the lower jaw of males (females don’t have any teeth at all!). These teeth are visible even when the mouth is closed. This species has a flipper pocket, a small depression on each side of its body immediately behind the point where the flipper is joined to the chest area (read more here). All that we know about them comes from the strandings.
They have a blue-gray body with scars and scratches on the back. There is a difference between the Northern and the Southern hemisphere. The Southern hemisphere individuals have a lighter back and tailstock, making it more easier to identify.
Very little is known about the behavior of these whales. The scars suggest that there is fighting going on between males. Sightings are poor, a few of them show that they surface with an angle coming up with the beak first.
There is still a lot to discover about these whales! More research is necessary but sightings are very low with this species. Nevertheless we will always continue with our MONICET (our research program in colaboration with the University, see the website here) and whenever an individual of this species decides to show up we will take data immediately!