Thy pygmy beaked whale (aka Peruvian beaked whale) is one of the smaller whales within the beaked whale family.
This marine mammal makes up one of over 15 known species of beaked whale.
The pygmy beaked whale is typically found traveling in warm tropical climates in the eastern pacific waters.
Collecting research on this whale has proven to be difficult due to their deep diving nature and rare appearances.
The pygmy beaked whale can grow to lengths of up to 13 – 14 ft. when fully matured. (It is unknown whether or not there are larger species).
As with other beaked whales they have a robust body, however their tail is thicker than normal for this species.
They also have a relatively narrow beak when compared to other beaked whales.
The dorsal fin is small and located far down this whales back.
In terms of color these whales have dark gray bodies with light gray or white under-bodies.
Males may also appear to have scarring across their bodies and a single tooth protruding on each side of its lower jaw, located about midway down the beak.
Females do not have any visible protruding teeth.
These marine mammals are also believed to search for prey using echolocation when traveling in areas that are too dark to see.
Little is known about this whales habitat.
These whales have been spotted traveling in tropical waters in the eastern pacific ocean between California and Peru.
There have also been observations of beached or stranded whales in Chile, Monetary Bay and New Zealand.
The pygmy beaked whale appears to prefer swimming in deep offshore waters that are away from the coastline.
Social Structure and Breeding
Understanding the social structure and breeding habits of these whales has proven to be difficult as being able to spot and identify this species is rare.
From information gathered on rare spottings and beachings it appears that male whales may exhibit aggressive behavior, especially during courtship or mating periods as male whales tend to show extensive scarring across their bodies.
Females often show much less scarring if any, which may indicate that they are much less aggressive than their male counterparts.
Individuals who have spotted these whales have typically seen them traveling in groups of 2 – 4, however it is unclear whether or not they are likely to form larger groups on a regular basis.
Insufficient data exists regarding their breeding habits and lifespan.
You can find additional information on breeding habits and lifespan by reading these articles:
Due to their deep diving nature and rare appearances the pygmy beaked whale is rarely hunted.
Occasional attacks have been made on these marine mammals and in a few instances they have been accidentally caught in fishing nets, however these attacks are rare.
In regards to natural predators very little is known about which marine animals may hunt the pygmy beaked whale.
If these marine mammals are hunted by natural predators then the most likely hunters would either be large sharks or killer whales.