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Encyclopedia > Spade Toothed Whale
Spade Toothed Whale
Conservation status: Unknown
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Ziphidae
Genus: Mesoplodon
Species: M. traversii
Binomial name
Mesoplodon traversii
Gray, 1874

The Spade Toothed Whale (Mesoplodon traversii) was a name given to a jaw found in Pitt Island, New Zealand in 1872, which was eventually lumped in with Layard's Beaked Whales. Another specimen in the 1950 was found from White Island, New Zealand and lumped in with Ginko-toothed Beaked Whales. In 1986, a damaged calvaria washed up on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, and was described as a new species, Mesoplodon bahamondi or Bahamonde's Beaked Whale. Recent genetic analysis has shown that all three specimens belong to the same finds come from the same species, which should be properly known as M. traversii. This species is remarkable since the external appearance is still completely unknown, and it is likely to be the most poorly known large mammalian species. 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 (coral, jellyfish, anenomes) Placozoa (trichoplax) Subregnum Bilateria (bilateral symmetry) Acoelomorpha (basal) Orthonectida (flatworms, echinoderms, etc. ... 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 the vertebrates, together with... Orders Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Eutheria (includes extinct ancestors)/Placentalia (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata (extinct) Perissodactyla Pholidota Plesiadapiformes... 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 the formal method of 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. ... 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. ...


Physical description

Nothing is known about this species other than cranial and dental anatomy. There are some notable differences between other Mesoplodonts, such as the relatively large width of the rostrum. The distinguishing character are the very large teeth of the animal, 23 cm (9 inches), close in size to those of Layard's Beaked Whale. The teeth are much wider than the Layard's, and a peculiar denticle on the tip of the teeth present on both species is much more pronounced in the Spade Toothed Whale. Despite the rather similar dentition, the Spade Toothed Whale and Layard's Beaked whale are only distantly related. Judging from the size of the skull, the species may be between 5 and 5.5 meters (16 and 18 feet) in length.

Population and distribution

This species has been found in the eastern and western Pacific, although it has not been found in between.


This species has never been seen alive.


Unknown, but unlikely to be abundant.


  • Encylopedia of Marine Mammals. Edited by William F. Perrin, Bernd Wursig, and J.G.M Thewissen. Academic Press, 2002. ISBN 0-12-551340-2
  • 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. ISBN 0-7136-6334-0.
  • A Ressurection of Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874) Senior Synonym of M. Bahamondi (Reyes, Van Waerebeek, Cardenas, and Yanez, 1995). Written by Anton L. can Helden, Alan N. Baker, Merel L. Dalebout, Julio C. Reyes, Koen Van Waerebeek, and C. Scott Baker. Marine Mammal Science 18(3):609-621. July 2002. Available: here

External links

  • CMS

  Results from FactBites:
Mesoplodont whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (456 words)
Mesoplodont Whales are fourteen species of whale in the genus Mesoplodon, making it the largest genus in the cetacean order.
Beaked whales are typically medium to large sized for toothed whales, 3 to 6 meters in length, but diminutive when compared with Bottlenose Whales and Giant Beaked Whales.
Gray's Beaked Whale is the exception and has numerous small and possibly functional teeth in the lower jaw.
Longman's Beaked Whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1037 words)
Longman’s Beaked Whale (Indopacetus pacificus), also known as the Indo-Pacific Beaked Whale and the Tropical Bottlenose Whale, was considered to be the world’s rarest cetacean until recently, but the Spade Toothed Whale now holds that position.
A whale washed up near Danae, Somalia in 1955 was processed into fertilizer with only the skull remaining, and biologist Joseph C. Moore used it to effectively demonstrate that it was a unique species.
The female specimen from the Maldives was 6 meters (20 feet) in length with a 1 meter (3 foot) fetus, and the Japanese female was 6.5 meters (22 feet) in length.
  More results at FactBites »



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