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Encyclopedia > Gray's Beaked Whale
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Gray's Beaked Whale
Conservation status: Unknown
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Ziphidae
Genus: Mesoplodon
Species: M. grayi
Binomial name
Mesoplodon grayi
von Haast, 1876

Gray's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon grayi), sometimes known as Haast's Beaked Whale or the Scamperdown Whale is one better known members of the genus Mesoplodon. The scientific name is in referecnce to John Edward Gray, a zoologist at the British Museum. This species is fairly gregarious and strands relatively frequently for a beaked whale. It is notable for being the only beaked whale, other than Shepherd's Beaked Whale (not a Mesoplodon), that has numerous teeth. The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive. ... Jump to: navigation, search Scientific classification or biological classification is how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ... Jump to: navigation, search Phyla Porifera (sponges) Ctenophora (comb jellies) Cnidaria Placozoa Subregnum Bilateria  Acoelomorpha  Orthonectida  Rhombozoa  Myxozoa  Superphylum Deuterostomia     Chordata (vertebrates, etc. ... Jump to: navigation, search Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicatas Ascidiacea 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... Jump to: navigation, search Orders Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Placentalia Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Creodonta (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Notoungulata (extinct) Perissodactyla Pholidota Primates Proboscidea Rodentia Scandentia Sirenia Tubulidentata Xenarthra Subclass Marsupialia Dasyuromorphia... 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. ... 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. ... In biology, binomial nomenclature is a standard convention used for naming species. ... 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. ... Genera Berardius Hyperoodon Indopacetus Mesoplodon Tasmacetus Ziphius A beaked whale is any of at least 20 species of small whale in the family Ziphiidae. ... Binomial name Tasmacetus shepherdi Oliver, 1937 Shepherds Beaked Whale range Shepherds Beaked Whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi) also commonly called the Tasman Beaked Whale or simply the Tasman Whale is a cetacean of the family Ziphidae. ...


Physical Description

Gray's beaked whale is a fairly slender member of the genus. The melon on the whale bulges towards the blowhole and slopes down towards the beak. The beak itself is very long and pointed for a beaked whale, and has a relatively strait mouth line. In both sexes there are 17-22 rows of small teeth located towards the back of the mouth which barely protrude past the gum. In males, there are two small, triangular teeth present halfway down the mouth. The overall coloration is dark on top and light below, and both genders have a white beak. Females are lighter on top and have additional white marking near the genitals. Adult males have typical scars from fighting and cookiecutter sharks normally present in the genus. Females reach at least 5.3 meters (17 feet 6 inches) whereas males reach 5.7 meters (19 feet) and weigh around a 1100 kilograms (2400 pounds). They are believed to be around 2.4 meters (7 feet 10 inches) long when born. Binomial name Isistius brasiliensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824) The Cookiecutter shark (also known as the Cigar shark or Luminous shark) is a small rarely-seen shark which often glows green and grows up to 20 inches long. ...


This species has a tendency to strand in large groups, once involving 20 individuals. Other strandings involved groups of 5 or 6 animals, and sometimes 8. The upper teeth may be used in holding prey, but it not clear why only this species has them.

Population and Distribution

This species typically lives in the Southern Hemisphere between 30 and 45 degrees. Many strandings have occured off of New Zealand, but others have happened off of Australia, South Africa, South America, and the Falkland Islands. This species has been sighted in groups off the coast of Madagascar and in the Antarctic area. Somewhat oddly, one specimen has stranded off the Netherlands, on a different Hemisphere and several thousand miles away from all other strandings. No population estimates exist, but they are believed to be rather common. South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ...


These whale have not been hunted deliberately and they have not been entangled in fishing gear.


  • Encylopedia of Marine Mammals. Edited by William F. Perrin, Bernd Wursig, and J.G.M Thewissen. Academic Press, 2002.
  • Sea Mammals of the World. Written by Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Steward, Phillip J. Clapham, and James A. Owell. A & C Black, London, 2002.

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