| Only adult male Perrin’s Beaked Whales have teeth, and they only have two. These teeth are at the tip of the lower jaw, near the end of the whale's short, dolphin-like beak. They are probably used for fighting, but very little is known about the lives and habits of Mesoplodon whales. They stay in very deep water, where they probably feed mostly on squid. Perrin’s Beaked Whale is the first mammal to be recognized purely on the basis of its DNA. In 2002, scientists analyzed the DNA from the teeth and bones of some whales that had been stranded on California beaches, and realized that they had found an unknown cetacean. Mesoplodon perrini looks very similar to Mesoplodon hectori, which is known from the Southern Hemisphere, but they are less close to each other, genetically, than each of them is to other Mesoplodon species.
Total Length: 3.9-4.43 m
Dalebout, M.L., J.G. Mead, C.S. Baker, A.N.Baker, & A.L. Van Helden, 2002. Marine Mammal Science. 18(3):577.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).