True's beaked whale
Mesoplodon mirus

True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus ) is a medium-sized whale in the genus Mesoplodon. It is native to the northern Atlantic Ocean. The common name is in reference to Frederick W. True, a curator at the United States National Museum (now the Smithsonian).


This whale has a normal mesoplodont body, except that it is rotund in the middle and tapering towards the ends. The two distinctive teeth on the males are small and set on the very end of the beak (however additional teeth have been recorded ). The melon is rather bulbous, and leads into a short beak. There is a crease behind the blowhole, and a sharp dorsal ridge on the back near the dorsal fin. The coloration is gray to brownish gray on the back which is lighter below, and notably darker on the "lips", around the eye, and near the dorsal fin. There is sometimes a dark blaze between the head and dorsal fin as well. One female in the Southern Hemisphere was bluish black with a white area between the dorsal fin and tail as well as a light gray jaw and throat, as well as black speckling. One individual from the Canary Islands had an area of white from snout to blowhole. Scars from fighting and cookiecutter sharks are present on males. This species reaches around 5.3 metres (17 ft) with the females weighing 1,400 kilograms (3,100 lb) and the males weighing 1,010 kilograms (2,230 lb). They are around 2.2 metres (7.2 ft) long when born.



This species lives in the North Atlantic and has stranded from Nova Scotia in the western Atlantic to Ireland in the eastern Atlantic and as far south as Florida, the Bahamas, and Canary Islands. The species does not inhabit the Southern Atlantic and appears to avoid tropical waters.

True's beaked whale habitat map
True's beaked whale habitat map
True's beaked whale
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Habits and Lifestyle

They have been seen in small groups, and are believed to be squid eaters. The most complete description of recorded live sightings and strandings, as well as the first underwater footage, was published in a 2017 article by Natacha Aguilar de Soto in the open access journal PeerJ.

Diet and Nutrition



This species has not been hunted and has not been a victim of fishing nets. True's beaked whale is covered by the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS). The species is further included in the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia (Western African Aquatic Mammals MoU) and the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region (Pacific Cetaceans MoU).

Coloring Pages


1. True's beaked whale Wikipedia article -'s_beaked_whale
2. True's beaked whale on The IUCN Red List site -

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