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Encyclopedia > Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Conservation status: Unknown
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Ziphidae
Genus: Ziphius
Species: Z. cavirostris
Binomial name
Ziphius cavirostris
G. Cuvier, 1823

Cuvier's Beaked Whale range

Cuvier's Beaked Whale is the most widely distributed of all the beaked whales. It is the only member of the genus Ziphius. Another common name for the species is Goose-beaked Whale on account of the fact that its head is said to be shaped like the beak of a goose. In fact, sightings of this creature were interpreted, during the Middle Ages, as a monster with a fish's body and an owl's head. This marine mammal was first described by Georges Cuvier in 1823 from part of a skull found in France in 1804. The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ... Phyla Porifera (sponges) Ctenophora (comb jellies) Cnidaria Placozoa Subregnum Bilateria  Acoelomorpha  Orthonectida  Rhombozoa  Myxozoa  Superphylum Deuterostomia     Chordata (vertebrates, etc. ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascideiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Orders Subclass Embrithopoda (extinct) Subclass Creodonta (extinct) Hyaenodontidae Oxyaenidae Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Placentalia Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Macroscelidea Perissodactyla Pholidota Primates Proboscidea Rodentia Scandentia Sirenia Tubulidentata Xenarthra Subclass Marsupialia Dasyuromorphia Didelphimorphia Diprotodontia Microbiotheria Notoryctemorphia... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti (see text for families) The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... Families See text The toothed whales (systematic name Odontoceti) form a suborder of the cetaceans. ... Genera Berardius Hyperoodon Indopacetus Mesoplodon Tasmacetus Ziphius A beaked whale is any of at least 20 species of small whale in the family Ziphiidae. ... In biology, binomial nomenclature is a standard convention used for naming species. ... Georges Cuvier Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier (August 23, 1769 - May 13, 1832) was a French naturalist and zoologist. ... 1823 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1357x628, 35 KB) , User:Pcb21 after User:Vardion. ... Genera Berardius Hyperoodon Indopacetus Mesoplodon Tasmacetus Ziphius A beaked whale is any of at least 20 species of small whale in the family Ziphiidae. ... In biology, a genus (plural genera) is a grouping in the classification of living organisms having one or more related and morphologically similar species. ... Other uses: Goose (disambiguation) Genera Anser Branta Chen Cereopsis Cnemiornis (extinct) † see also: Swan, Duck Anatidae Goose (plural geese) is the general English name for a considerable number of birds, belonging to the family Anatidae. ... A marine mammal is a mammal that is primarily ocean-dwelling or depends on the ocean for its food. ... Georges Cuvier Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier (August 23, 1769 - May 13, 1832) was a French naturalist and zoologist. ...


Physical description

Cuvier's Beaked Whale has a short beak in comparison with other species in the family, making for a slightly bulbous-shaped melon. The melon is white or creamy in colour and the white strip continues back to the dorsal fin about two-thirds of the way along the back. The rest of the body varies from individual to individual in colour, some are dark grey, others a reddish-brown. Individuals commonly have white scars and patches caused by cookie-cutter sharks. The dorsal fin varies in shape from triangular to highly falcate. The fluke of the whale is about one-quarter the length body. The whale grows up to about seven metres in length and weighs 2-3 metric tonnes. They live for forty years. Scientific classification or biological classification refers to how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ... The melon is a oily, fatty lump of tissue found at the centre of the forehead of most dolphins and toothed whales The function of the melon is not completely understood, but scientists believe it provides a means of focussing sounds used in echolocation. ... Dorsal Fin of the Orca A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of fishes, whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... A tonne (also called metric ton) is a non-SI unit of mass, accepted for use with SI, defined as: 1 tonne = 103 kg (= 106 g). ...

The Cuvier's Beaked Whale is difficult to distinguish from many of the mesoplodont whales at sea. Species See text The mesoplodont whales are the fourteen species of whale that make up the genus Mesoplodon, making it the single largest genus in the cetacean order. ...

Population and distribution

The distribution of Cuvier's Beaked Whale is known mainly from strandings. It has a widespread distribution across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Individuals have been found as far north as the Shetland Islands and as south as Tierra del Fuego. Deep offshore waters are preferred in anything from cool to tropical waters. Studies have been carried out in the Bay of Biscay though sightings are infrequent there. Because of the difficulty of identifying the species the total global population is unknown. The Atlantic Ocean is Earths second-largest ocean, covering approximately one-fifth of its surface. ... The Pacific Ocean (from the Latin name Mare Pacificum, peaceful sea, bestowed upon it by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan) is the worlds largest body of water. ... Shetland Islands The Shetland Islands (also sometimes spelled Zetland or Hjaltland) are one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and also form a traditional county and Lieutenancy area. ... Tierra del Fuego (Spanish: land of Fire) is an archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America. ... ESA photo, phytoplankton bloom along the Bay of Biscay Not to be confused with the North American Biscayne Bay. ...


Japanese fisheries have in the past killed Cuvier's opportunistically. As with many other cetacean species many individuals are believed to be killed each year by gillnets. Beaked Whales may also be sensitive to noise. A higher incidence of strandings has been recorded in noisy seas such as the Mediterranean. A gillnet is a type of fishing net, a type of which is the driftnet (which is a drifting gillnet - i. ... Satellite image The Mediterranean Sea is a part of the Alanic Ocean almost completely enclosed by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by Asia. ...


  1. Cuvier's Beaked Whale in the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals Thomas A. Jefferson, 1998. ISBN 0125513402
  2. National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World Reeves et al, 2002. ISBN 0375411410.
  3. Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises Carwardine, 1995. ISBN 0751327816

In the news

  • Cuvier's Beaked Whale found on a beach on Mull, West Scotland (BBC)



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