Gray's Beaked Whale
Mesoplodon grayi

Other Names: Scamperdown Whale, Southern Beaked Whale

Habitat: Offshore

Status: Unknown

Population: Unknown

Threats: Unknown

Group Size: 2-6, 28 stranded together on a single occasion

Fin Position: Far behind center

Newborns: 6 -8 ft (2-2.4 m), Unknown weight

Adults: 14 -18 ft (4.5-5.6 m), 1-1.5 tons

Diet: Squid or octopus

Teeth: 34-44 on top row, 2 on bottom row


Dorsal fin:

- concave trailing edge
- pointed tip
- some fins sweep further back


- pointed tips
-no notch in middle
- slightly concave trailing edges


- short, wide flippers


- fairly straight mouth line
- long, slender beak
- white beak, front of forehead, and throat
- small head with flat forehead
- indentation at blowhole

Jawbone (Male)b>

- serrated edge
- fairly small teeth 9-9 in (20-24 cm) behind tip of beak

Other characteristics:

- dark bluish gray, brownish gray, or black upper side
- sharp ridge between dorsal fin and flukes
- slender, spindle-shaped body
- pale gray or white underside
- long scars on body
- white or yellowish spots on underside and sides


- limited number of sightings suggest it may be more conspicuous at the surface than other beaked whales: seems to be more active and may live in larger groups
- observed singly, in pairs, and in small groups, but a mass stranding of 28 mammals in the Chatham Islands, east of New Zealand, in 1874 suggests that fairly large numbers may be encountered together
- has been seen breaching at a shallow angle, lifting entire body as far as flukes out of the water
- when swimming at speed, also observed porpoising through the water, making low, arc-shaped leaps, rather like rightwhale dolphins
- typically pokes white beak out of water as it surfaces to blow


- cool temperate waters of the southern hemisphere, south of 30 S
- appears to have circumpolar distribution south of about 30 S
- mostly known from strandings in New Zealand, though increasing number of records from Tierra del Fuego (in southern South America), the Falkland Islands, South Africa, Australia, and the Chatham Islands
- only 1 record in the northern hemisphere: an animal that stranded on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands in 1927; since there have been no other records in the region before or since, this was probably a stray
- significant number of sightings from a deep-water area south of Madagascar
- possible sighting in the Seychelles in early 1980s of 3 adults and a juvenile

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet