Mesoplodon bowdoini Andrews, 1908

English: Andrews' beaked whale
German: Andrews'-Zweizahnwal
Spanish: Zifio de Andrews, ballena picuda de Andrews
French: Mésoplodon de Andrews

Family Ziphiidae



Mesoplodon bowdoini © Wurtz-Artescienza (see links)


1. Description

Adult males are black to dark blue all over, except for the tip of the rostrum and the lower jaw, which are white. The two teeth located in the lower jaw are set in raised sockets at about the middle of the beak in the flesh; these erupt only in males. Body scarring indicates fighting between males. A relatively small mesoplodont, body length reaches at least 4.38 m, and one female was estimated to measure 4.87m (Baker, 2001). The species resembles Blainville's beaked whale, but as opposed to this species, the lower jaw arch is white, less massive and wider (Jefferson et al. 2008). The length at birth is estimated at about 2.20 m (Reidenberg and Laitman, 2009).back to the top of the page


2. Distribution

M. bowdoini is known only from 35 specimens and has a southern, circumpolar distribution north of the Antarctic convergence, between 32°S and 54°30'S (Baker, 2001; Van Waerebeek et al., 2004). Most of these have come from the South Pacific and Indian oceans (well over half are from New Zealand - Mead 1989; Baker 2001). Strandings have occurred in southern Australia, New Zealand, Tristan de Cunha, the Falkland Islands, Macquarie Island, Argentina and Uruguay. A presumed specimen from Tasmania was re-identified as M. grayi (Baker, 2001; Van Waerebeek et al., 2004). The overall range may be circumpolar in the Southern Hemisphere; however, there is a gap in the known distribution between the Chatham Islands, east of New Zealand and the west coast of South America (Taylor et al. 2009).

Distribution of Mesoplodon bowdoini (Taylor et al. 2008; © IUCN; enlarge map). The species
seems to prefer the cool temperate circumpolar waters of the Southern
Hemisphere (Jefferson et al. 2008).
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3. Population size

unknown.back to the top of the page


4. Biology and Behaviour

Almost nothing is known about the behaviour of M. bowdoini. Lack of sightings in the wild suggests that Andrew's beaked whales are unobtrusive or live away from well-studied areas and possibly both. Their close relationship with Hubbs' beaked whale suggests the two species may have similar behaviour patterns. They are probably extremely difficult to identify at sea, and even stranded animals have been misidentified in the past. The occurrence of fetuses of M. bowdoini in May and September, and perinatal juveniles in May and June, indicates a summer-autumn breeding season in the New Zealand region (Carwardine, 1995).

Andrews' beaked whales are assumed to feed primarily on cephalopods, like other members of the genus (Baker 2001). Based on the concentration of stranding records, the waters around New Zealand may represent an area of concentration for the species (Baker, 2001).back to the top of the page


5. Migration

Unknown.back to the top of the page


6. Threats

Unknownback to the top of the page


7. Remarks

Range states: Argentina; Australia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); New Zealand; Saint Helena (United Kingdom); Uruguay (Taylor et al. 2008).
The species is categorised as "Data Deficient" by the IUCN. M. bowdoini is not listed by CMS. The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES.back to the top of the page


8. Sources

see "Genus Mesoplodon - Beaked whales: Introduction and Sources"

© Boris Culik (2010) Odontocetes. The toothed whales: "Mesoplodon bowdoini". UNEP/CMS Secretariat, Bonn, Germany.http://www.cms.int/small-cetaceans
© Illustrations by Maurizio Würtz, Artescienza.
© Maps by IUCN.

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