Mesoplodon hectori (Gray,
English: Hector's beaked whale
Spanish: Zifio de Héctor, ballena picuda de Héctor
French: Mésoplodon de Hector, baleine à bec de Hector
Mesoplodon hectori © Wurtz-Artescienza (see links).
Hector's beaked whale appears to be dark grey to brown, with pale
grey undersides. Single as well as closely paired scratches and
round scars (presumably from cookie-cutter sharks) are common on
the flanks. Adult males have a white beak and white forehead, with
a small triangular tooth on either side of the lower jaw near the
tip. The longest specimens measured 4.3 m (Jefferson et al. 2008).
Hector's beaked whale appears to be circumglobal in cold temperate
waters of the Southern Hemisphere. Specimens were recorded from
Tierra del Fuego and Chubut in Argentina, the Falkland Islands/Islas
Malvinas, Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Cape Province in South Africa,
Tasmania, North Island and South Island in New Zealand, and Isla
Navarino in Chile (reviewed by Rice, 1998).
Distribution of Mesoplodon hectori (Taylor
et al. 2008; © IUCN; enlarge
map). The species
distribution is circumpolar in cool-temperate waters of the southern
(Pitman, 2002; Jefferson et al. 2008).
Previously, it was supposed that this species may
also be vagrant in southern California, where several strandings
and sightings were reported from 1975 to 1979 (Rice, 1998). However,
the California specimens have subsequently been assigned to the
new species M. perrini,
found in the eastern North Pacific (Dalebout et al. 2000, 2002),
which confines M. hectori to the Southern Hemisphere.
3. Population size
4. Biology and Behaviour
According to Carwardine (1995), with only 2 probable sightings
in the wild, there is little information on behaviour. However,
this species may be unusual for a Mesoplodon because, in
both instances, one of the animals seemed inquisitive and actually
approached the boat. If this is normal behaviour, it seems strange
that there have not been more sightings (unless the species is rare).
Pairs may be the typical group size. Hector's beaked whales are
known to feed on squid (Jefferson et al. 1993).
Range states: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands
(Malvinas), New Zealand , South Africa, United States of America,
Uruguay (Taylor et al. 2008).
Categorised as "Data Deficient" by IUCN. Hector's beaked
whale is not listed by CMS. The species is listed in Appendix II
of CITES. See recommendations for southern South American cetaceans
in Hucke-Gaete (2000) in Appendix
8. Sources and further information
Mesoplodon - Beaked whales: Introduction and Sources"
© Boris Culik (2010) Odontocetes.
The toothed whales: "Mesoplodon hectori". UNEP/CMS
Secretariat, Bonn, Germany. http://www.cms.int/reports/small_cetaceans/index.htm
© Illustrations by Maurizio Würtz, Artescienza.
© Maps by IUCN.