It also happens to be one of the rarest whales within the entire cetacean species which is comprised of over 80 different marine mammals and is made up of all species of whale, dolphin and porpoise.
The beaked whale family is a group of beaked whales that share similar characteristics with one another and consists of over 20 different known species of whale within the toothed whale suborder.
Due to rare observations of these whales it is unknown how rare this species of whale really is; however they do appear to be more abundant than the spade-toothed whale (another extremely rare species of cetacea).
When fully matured Longman’s beaked whale measures in at 20 – 26 ft. long, however it is estimated that these whales may be able to grow up to 30 ft. in length making this species one of the largest species of beaked whale.
These whales have long beaks when compared to other species of beaked whale along with two teeth protruding from the lower jaw of the male whales; females do not exhibit teeth on their lower jaw.
As with other beaked whales the dorsal fin is located down the far side of its back (about 2/3), however these whales tend to have a larger more triangular dorsal fin than average when compared to other beaked whales.
Infants on the other hand tend to have a fairly small dorsal fin during their youth.
In terms of color the skin of these whales can vary from brown to light/dark gray and bluish gray with white spotting appearing on the face, belly and sides.
While both the male and female whales vary the females tend to have less variation in skin tone then the males.
In fact females typically to have gray bodies with a brown head while the males have varying shades of color throughout their body.
Both male and female whales may show scarring from predators such as the cookie cutter shark.
When exhaling at the surface after a long dive they have been described as having a low profile water spout that is coarse in nature and angled slightly forward.
The spout comes from exhaling old air and having the water surrounding the surface of blowhole pushed up from the force of the air.
As with all cetaceans these whales do not ingest the water because it would fill their lungs.
The water that spouts up is simply water that has collected around the outside of the blowhole.
When searching for food underwater dives may last anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes or more before resurfacing for air.
When hunting for food Longman’s beaked whale may use echolocation to help it navigate and pinpoint the location of certain prey.
As with other beaked whales these marine mammals may also consume their food whole due to a lack of usable teeth.
Habitat and Migration
These whales can typically be found traveling through warm tropical/sub tropical climates in waters that are deeper than 6,500 ft. with most records indicating these whales primarily being found in the western Indian and Pacific oceans.
According to records strandings/beachings of these whales have occurred in places such as Australia, Japan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Additional sightings of Longman’s beaked whale include Hawaii, Guadalupe Island and the Gulf of Mexico among a few other locations.
Insufficient data exists regarding whether or not these whales migrate and where they travel to if they are migratory animals.
Social Structure and Breeding
Research and observation data suggests that these whales travel in fairly large groups/pods.
Pod sizes can consist of anywhere from 10 – 100 whales or more, with pods of 15 – 25 being typical for this species of beaked whale.
It is likely that these whales may also intermingle and travel with other species of whale.
Breeding habits and lifespan are also unknown.
Longman’s beaked whale isn’t known to face any significant threats, however occasional catches in fishing nets have been recorded.
It is also believed that these marine mammals may be at risk of becoming disoriented from artificial man-made sounds and acoustics which can cause these whales to lose track of their location as they rely on echolocation to navigate the ocean or the sounds could interfere with their ability to hear natural sounds among other possible risks.
Among other beaked whale species there have been known cases of mass beaching’s occurring after extensive sonar use, however the illusiveness of Longman’s beaked whale makes it difficult to understand