Beaked Whales

21 species

Beaked whales are a family of cetaceans noted as being one of the least known groups of mammals because of their deep-sea habitat and apparent low abundance. Only three or four of the 24 species are reasonably well-known. Baird\'s beaked whales and Cuvier\'s beaked whales were subject to commercial exploitation, off the coast of Japan, while the Northern bottlenose whale was extensively hunted in the northern part of the North Atlantic late in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Beaked whales are moderate in size and their key distinguishing feature is the presence of a \'beak\', somewhat similar to many dolphins. Other distinctive features include a pair of converging grooves under the throat and the absence of a notch in the tail fluke. Beaked whales are deep divers and they regularly dive deeper than 500 m (1,600 ft) to echolocate for food; these deep dives are often followed by multiple shallower dives less than 500 m. They are social animals, however, not much information is available about their group composition. For many years, most beaked whale species were insulated from anthropogenic impacts because of their remote habitat. However, now they more and more get poisoned by toxic chemicals and are particularly vulnerable to the build-up of bio-contaminants such as plastic. They also more frequently become trapped in trawl nets, due to the expansion of deepwater fisheries.
Beaked whales are a family of cetaceans noted as being one of the least known groups of mammals because of their deep-sea habitat and apparent low abundance. Only three or four of the 24 species are reasonably well-known. Baird\'s beaked whales and Cuvier\'s beaked whales were subject to commercial exploitation, off the coast of Japan, while the Northern bottlenose whale was extensively hunted in the northern part of the North Atlantic late in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Beaked whales are moderate in size and their key distinguishing feature is the presence of a \'beak\', somewhat similar to many dolphins. Other distinctive features include a pair of converging grooves under the throat and the absence of a notch in the tail fluke. Beaked whales are deep divers and they regularly dive deeper than 500 m (1,600 ft) to echolocate for food; these deep dives are often followed by multiple shallower dives less than 500 m. They are social animals, however, not much information is available about their group composition. For many years, most beaked whale species were insulated from anthropogenic impacts because of their remote habitat. However, now they more and more get poisoned by toxic chemicals and are particularly vulnerable to the build-up of bio-contaminants such as plastic. They also more frequently become trapped in trawl nets, due to the expansion of deepwater fisheries.