Gervais' Beaked Whale
Mesoplodon europaeus


Other Names: Gulf Stream Beaked Whale, European Beaked Whale, Antillean Beaked Whale

Habitat: Offshore

Status: Unknown

Population: Unknown

Threats: Entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 2-5

Fin Position: Far behind center

Newborns: 5'1/4"-7'1/4"(1.6m-2.2m), c.110 lb.(50 kg)

Adults: 14'3/4"-17'(4.5m-5.2m), c.1-2 tons

Diet: Squid or octopus

Teeth: 0 on top row, 2 on bottom row


Description

Dorsal fin:

- small, shark-like
- may have blunt rounded tip

Flukes:

- broad, dark gray
- no notch
- slightly concave trailing edges

Flippers:

- small flippers located low down on sides of body
- slightly pointed tips
- flippers darker than underside of body

Jawbone:

- teeth located 3-4 in (7-10 cm) from tip in males

Other characteristics:

- slightly bulging forehead
- relatively small head
- slight indentation at blowhole
- dark gray or marine blue upper side
- spindle-shaped body
- dark gray or marine blue tail stock
- body scarring
- irregular white blotches on belly, especially around genital region
- pale gray underside (white in juveniles)
- pronounced but very narrow beak
- teeth visible when mouth closed


Behavior

- probably a deep diver living in small groups or pairs
- some reports indicate beak breaks water first when whale surfaces to breathe
- scarring suggest fighting between males
- has been known to become entangled in fishing nets


Distribution

- deep subtropical and warm temperate waters in the Atlantic
- first recorded specimen found floating in the English Channel in the 1840s (hence its Latin name Mesoplodon europaeus) but no records from northern Europe since then
- mainly known from the western North Atlantic
- it is the most common Mesoplodon species stranded along the Atlantic coast of USA
- distribution center appears to be southwest North Atlantic, with most records from Florida and North Carolina
- also recorded in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba, though does not appear to be particularly common in the Gulf of Mexico
- more widely dispersed stranding from the Canary Islands; Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania, West Africa; and Ascension Island, in the South Atlantic
- may be closely associated with warm waters of the transatlantic Gulf Stream




TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

Return To Gulf of Mexico Species
Return To Cetaceans of the World

e-mail suggestions or questions to
tmmsn@sci.tamucc.edu

This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet