Cuvier's Beaked Whale
The 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 because its head is said to be shaped like the beak of a goose.

Physical Description Edit

Cuvier's beaked whale has a short beak in comparison with other species in its family, with a slightly bulbous melon. The melon is white or creamy in color and a white strip runs back to the dorsal fin about two-thirds of the way along the back. The rest of the body color varies by individual: some are dark grey; others a reddish-brown. Individuals commonly have white scars and patches caused by cookiecutter sharks. The dorsal fin varies in shape from triangular to highly falcate. The fluke of the whale is about one-quarter the body length. The whale grows up to about 7 meters (23 ft) in length and weighs 2–3 tonnes (2.0–3.0 long tons; 2.2–3.3 short tons). They live for forty years.

The Cuvier's beaked whale is difficult to distinguish from many of the mesoplodont whales at sea.

Food Edit

Cuvier's beaked whale feeds on several species of squid, including those in the families Cranchiidae, Onychoteuthidae, Brachioteuthidae, Enoploteuthidae, Octopoteuthidae and Histioteuthidae; they also prey on deep-sea fish.

Habitat Edit

Cuvier's has a cosmopolitan distribution in deep, offshore waters from the tropics to the cool temperate seas. In the North Pacific, it occurs as far north as the Aleutians and in the North Atlantic as far north as Massachusetts in the west to the Shetlands in the east. In the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs as far south as Tierra del Fuego, South Africa, southern Australia, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. It also frequents such inland bodies of waters as the Gulfs of Mexico and California and probably also the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.