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Hubbs' Beaked Whales, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi

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Description & Behavior

Hubbs' beaked whales, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi (Moore, 1963), are an uncommon species rarely seen in the wild. One sighting was reported near La Jolla, California. Adult Hubbs' beaked whales have measured up to 5.3 m in length. Males are dark gray to black with a white area located on the tip of their rostrum (snout) and lower jaw to the back of their head around their blowhole. This white coloration makes them easier to identify in the water than females and juveniles, which are colored medium to light gray with white coloring on their flanks and ventral (under) sides. Two teeth protrude from the rear of their lower jaws in males but are concealed in the females. Very little is known about the behavior of Hubbs' beaked whales, however the large number of scars on males indicates a high level of aggression between males, probably during mating seasons.

Beaked Whales (Family Hyperoodontidae)
These medium-sized to moderately large whales have a single pair of grooves on their throats. They have distinct snouts, and often the few teeth present are visible only in adult males. They have a single nostril or blowhole. Beaked whales are generally slender with small dorsal fins toward the rear on their backs. The rear edge of their flukes (tail fins) usually lacks a well-defined notch. These whales are deep divers and are rarely seen. Many species are known only from a few specimens, and little is known about the life history and biology of the group. All members of this family, except Blainville's beaked whales, are difficult to distinguish from each other, and study by museum experts is usually necessary for identification.

World Range & Habitat

Hubbs' beaked whales, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi, can be found in the North Pacific Ocean from the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan in the west to British Columbia south to San Diego, California. These whales seem to inhabit cold temperate waters, and possibly follow the subarctic currents. What little is known about this species comes from the examination of 31 stranded specimens, many of which were found along the North American Pacific coast. Four strandings have also been reported from Ayukawa, Japan.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Stomach content analysis of Hubbs' beaked whales indicate a diet of squid and deep water fishes.

Life History

No data is currently available.

Conservation Status & Comments

Hubbs' beaked whales, because of their rarity, have not been hunted commercially, however there have been reports of harpooning this species off the coast of Japan.

References & Further Research

CMS: Mesoplodon carlhubbsi, Hubbs' beaked whale
Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation (CCRC) - Beaked whales (+ videos)
Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood, and M.A. Webber, FAO species identification guide, Marine mammals of the world, Rome, FAO. 1993. 320 p. 587 figs.

Research Mesoplodon carlhubbsi » Barcode of Life ~ Taxonomy ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species + Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Hubbs' Beaked Whales » ARKive ~ Flickr ~ Google ~ Creative Commons search ~ Wikipedia ~ YouTube

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