Fun Blainville Beaked Whale Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 15, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Blainville beaked whale facts give a sneak peek into the diverse world of marine animals.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Blainville's beaked whale, or the dense-beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), of the genus Mesoplodon, is a marine mammal with worldwide distribution in warm tropical and temperate waters. With the exception of the Arctic and the Antarctic Oceans, these beaked whales are found in all the other major oceans of the world. They are not endemic to a specific region and are believed to have the most extensive range compared to other species in the genus.

Like dolphins, beaked whales belong to the group of Cetaceans. Moreover, species of beaked whales have a characteristic beak, quite similar to that of dolphins. However, while both dolphins and beaked whales are aquatic mammals, the two belong to different families. Blainville's beaked whales are one of the least-studied in the family Ziphiidae. These cryptic and elusive marine mammals thrive in deep water regions, often found around underwater geological structures such as submarine canyons, continental slopes, and seamounts. In fact, field studies have revealed that amidst different species of beaked whales, Blainville's beaked whales can be quite challenging to spot.

Despite the mysterious and slippery behavior of the Blainville's beaked whales, these marine mammals are a fascinating species. Their steely blue-colored body with light blotches and the unmistakable arch of the lower jaw are aesthetically pleasing. Besides, the adult males' arch is adorned with dense, prominent tusks, a distinguishing feature that has earned them the name dense-beaked whale. These dense, tusk-like, forward-pointing teeth protrude from the arched lower jaw. Adult females and juveniles have a less curvy jawline with the teeth invisible beneath the gum tissue.

There's more to the behavior and lifestyle of these interesting species of marine mammals. Read on to find out!

You can further enrich your knowledge about whales with articles on strap-toothed whale facts and Bryde's whale facts.

Blainville Beaked Whale Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Blainville beaked whale?

The Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) of the family Ziphiidae is a species of beaked whale. Blainville's beaked whale belongs to the group of cetaceans that also includes other marine animals such as dolphins and porpoises.

What class of animal does a Blainville beaked whale belong to?

Like any other species of whale, like the minke whale, Blainville's beaked whales belong to the class Mammalia.

How many Blainville beaked whales are there in the world?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, there is insufficient data to determine the total population size and population status of the Blainville's beaked whale species. The animals inhabiting the U.S. waters are divided into three stocks - Western North Atlantic, Northern Gulf of Mexico, and Hawaiian. Out of these, those in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic have the most uncertain population size due to fishery-related injury and mortality.

Where does a Blainville beaked whale live?

Blainville's beaked whales prefer warm tropical and temperate ocean waters. Even though these marine animals prefer a deep water habitat, they have also been reported from shallower waters around oceanic islands.

What is a Blainville beaked whale's habitat?

The distribution of Blainville's beaked whale population varies with the movement of warm oceanic currents. In the Pacific Ocean, the range of these marine animals extends from California to Taiwan, with sightings and strandings around several islands and mainland coasts. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Blainville's beaked whale has been spotted off the coasts of Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, the Canary Islands, and the United Kingdom. In the western Atlantic, the species' range stretches from the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to Nova Scotia. In addition, the species has been recorded on the island of Mauritius in the southwest Indian Ocean, in the Nicobar Islands, Seychelles, and the Maldives.

These marine creatures are typically found in offshore waters at a depth range of 656-3,281 ft (200-1000 m) with water temperatures between 50-90 F (10-32 C). In addition to temperature and depth preferences, the Blainville's beaked whale favors a habitat that is topographically diverse and has high productivity.

Who do Blainville beaked whales live with?

Blainville's beaked whales can be found alone or in social groups comprising three to seven individuals. Occasionally, members of this species may also be found in groups consisting of up to 12 members.

How long does a Blainville beaked whale live?

The exact longevity of Blainville's beaked whales is not known.

How do they reproduce?

The presence of long narrow scars on the adult males' bodies is proof that the males tend to be violent with each other in their pursuit of mating females. The tusk-like teeth of the males are likely to cause such injury. Male and female members of the species reach sexual maturity when they are about nine years old. Once mature, females give birth to a single calf that weighs about 130 lb (59 kg) and measures 6-8.5 ft (1.8-2.6 m) in length. No information is available regarding the females' gestation period or the calving interval. Not much is known about the parental investment in taking care of the young. However, the females are typically involved in nursing the calves.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, Blainville's beaked whales are of Least Concern. Besides their inclusion in the IUCN Red List, the Blainville's beaked whales are listed in CITES Appendix II and protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and throughout their range.

Blainville Beaked Whale Fun Facts

What do Blainville beaked whales look like?

Blainville's beaked whales have a typical beak like that of dolphins.

Blainville's beaked whales have a long and narrow body, tapering on either end and wider near the middle. The coloration ranges from dark gray to bluish and brownish on the lateral and upper sides of the body. The face and undersides are lighter gray or whitish, producing a sharp contrast against the rest of the body. The forehead (known as melon) is low, sloping, and indistinct. The beak is somewhat long and thick. The dorsal fin is slightly hooked and located about two-thirds of the way down the back of the body. The skin on the upper body appears somewhat wrinkled due to scars and markings. The scars are especially prominent in mature males.

Adult males are easily distinguishable from females and juveniles by the presence of large, tusk-like teeth on the arched lower jaw. Their teeth point forward and may be covered with barnacles. Females and juveniles have a less curved lower jaw. Besides, their teeth are hidden beneath the gum tissue. The underside of the lower jaw has a pair of throat grooves.

How cute are they?

The thick beak of the Blainville's beaked whales makes them look quite cute and adorable.

How do they communicate?

A Blainville's beaked whale uses the sound reflected from nearby objects to locate prey in deep waters, a phenomenon known as echolocation. Blainville's beaked whales produce two types of clicking sounds, each specific to a particular phase of foraging. The search clicks last for 0.2-0.4 seconds and are emitted when the whales are diving underwater in search of prey. On the other hand, Blainville's beaked whales give out buzz clicks while they are capturing their prey. The animals use sound to communicate, feed, and navigate in the ocean.

How big is a Blainville beaked whale?

Blainville's beaked whales range in length between 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m). They are roughly half the size of killer whales.

How fast can a Blainville beaked whale swim?

No information is available regarding an estimate of the Blainville's beaked whale's swimming speed.

How much does a Blainville beaked whale weigh?

Blainville's beaked whales weigh between 1,800-2,300 lb (816.4-1043.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male whales are called bulls, and females are called cows.

What would you call a baby Blainville beaked whale?

Baby Blainville's beaked whales are called calves.

What do they eat?

The diet of Blainville's beaked whales primarily consists of smaller fish, cephalopods like cock-eyed squid, glass squid, armhook squid, and other aquatic invertebrates.

Are they dangerous?

Blainville's beaked whales are not known to be harmful or dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Blainville's beaked whales are wild animals and not suitable for keeping as domestic pets. Besides, the whales are protected by law, and it would be illegal to own them as pets.

Did you know...

After dolphins, beaked whales are the second-largest family of cetaceans.

The spade-toothed whale is the rarest species among beaked whales. Another beaked whale is the pygmy beaked whale.

Blainville's beaked whales are especially well-documented off the northeastern Bahamas.

The regular diving of Blainville's beaked whales lasts between 20-45 minutes. During this time, the whales go to depths of 1,600-3,300 ft (488-1,006 m). However, sustained diving for more than 45 minutes at depths of 4,600 ft (1,402 m) are not uncommon.

Primary threats to Blainville's beaked whales stem from human activities. Entanglement in fishing gear, marine debris, and ocean noise threaten the existence of these enigmatic creatures. Sound pollution interrupts the normal behavior of Blainville's beaked whales, disrupting their breeding, feeding, and movement underwater.

The tooth structure of Blainville's beaked whales is not adapted to grasp and bite prey. Hence, the whales capture prey by suction.

Who discovered the beaked whale?

Blainville's beaked whales were first described in 1817 by Henri de Blainville, a French zoologist. He based his description on a small piece of the jaw from the animal, which led to the specific name 'densirostris', meaning dense beak in Latin.

Do beaked whales have teeth?

Beaked whales belong to the group of toothed whales and usually have one to two pairs of teeth. The teeth are prominent in males, where they develop into tusk-like structures and are used in combat with other males. The teeth do not develop in females and remain hidden beneath the gum tissue. According to studies, each species has a different tooth structure.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our mountain zebra facts and English cocker spaniel facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable blainville beaked Whale coloring pages.

Blainville Beaked Whale Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small fish, cephalopods, aquatic invertebrates

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivores

Average Litter Size?

1

How Much Did They Weigh?

1,800-2,300 lb (816.4-1043.3 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

warm, tropical, and temperate waters

Where Do They Live?

pacific ocean, indian ocean

How Long Were They?

15-20 ft (4.5-6 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Mesoplodon

Family

Ziphiidae

Scientific Name

Mesoplodon densirostris

What Do They Look Like?

Dark gray, brown, blue

Skin Type

Smooth skin

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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