Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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  Cetacea · Ziphiidae · Hyperoodon ampullatus
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Hyperoodon ampullatus

Northern Bottlenosed Whale

Order: Cetacea
Family: Ziphiidae

Image of Hyperoodon ampullatus
Hyperoodon ampullatus - female, upper, with calf just below; male, lower
Click to enlarge. (45 kb)

Conservation Status: Data Deficient.

The northern bottlenose whale is the only species of the genus Hyperoodon that lives in the North Atlantic, but there is an unidentified species of whale living in the North Pacific that may turn out to belong to this genus. The northern bottlenose whale has a long, tube-like snout, different in shape from the beaked face of the other whales of the ziphiid family. This species prefers deep water and may avoid shallows. It has been caught in nets at depths below 1,000 m and has been known to stay submerged for up to two hours. In the Arctic Ocean, the whales stay near the boundaries between cold polar currents and warmer Atlantic currents, where the food supply is rich. Squid and a variety of fish make up most of their diet. Their growth pattern has been measured by counting annual growth rings that appear naturally in their teeth, much like tree growth rings. Males reach full size at 20 years and females, which tend to be smaller, at 15 years. Life span is estimated to be at least 37 years.

Also known as:
Beaked Whale, Bottlenose Whale

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Range: 9-9.5 m males; 8-8.5 m females

Average: 10,000 kg males; 7,500 kg females


Forster, 1770.  In Kalm, Travels into North America, 1:18.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Hyperoodon ampullatus