Short-finned Pilot Whale

Hawaiian Island Cetaceans

Blainville’s Beaked Whale

Scientific Name - Mesoplodon densirostis

Average Length - Male: 4.4m, Female: 4.6m

Photo Credit: © Robin W. Baird/Cascadia Research Collective

 

Blainville’s beaked whales are estimated at 2300 individuals in Hawaiian waters and it is thought that there are both insular (near shore) and offshore, pelagic populations in Hawaii. Beaked whales comprise the world’s most poorly known group of whales. This deep, robust, and laterally compressed bodied whale is often speckled with many white oval scars along with long white “scratch” scars mostly seen in adult males. The small pointed crown of a massive tooth erupts from the top of the rostrum on each side each side of the jaw in males once they reach maturity.  Clusters of single-stalked barnacles often attach to the exposed tips of these teeth. Small groups of these animals are most often observed, they tend to gather in small groups of three to seven animals. These whales can dive for lengths of up to 22 minutes and are best known from the Kona coast of the Big Island where repeated use of this area has been demonstrated by individual Balinville’s beaked whales for almost 20 years. Beaked whales are known to be vulnerable to impacts from underwater noise.

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