Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Strap-toothed Whale

Mesoplodon layardii
The Strap-toothed Whale, also known as Layard's Whale, is a little-studied Cetacean found in the cold waters of the Southern Oceans. They have beaked faces and grow to lengths of around 20ft, with the males being slightly smaller than the females. Males also have the curious distinction of having long front teeth that just upwards from their jaw. These teeth can grow to nearly a foot in length, and are probably used for mating and communication purposes, as scarring is common in males.

We don't known much about their reproductive habits, their lifespan, or their social behaviors. They are shy creatures who don't often come near boats, which is one of the reasons why studying them has proven difficult.

Most of what we know about the Strap-toothed Whales comes from their remains. The facial scars on the males lead us to believe that they fight one another, for example. Their stomach contents have also been looked at, which is how we know that Squid is their favorite prey-- over two dozen different deep sea squid species have been identified in their stomachs!

IUCN Status : Data Deficient
Location : Antarctica, Southern Oceans
Size : Length up to 20ft (6m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Cetacea
Family : Ziphidae -- Genus : Mesoplodon -- Species : M. layardii
Image :  Marinebio

6 comments:

  1. They almost look like dolphins! Very beautiful.

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