| The Pygmy Beaked Whale is the smallest species of Mesoplodon yet discovered. The largest adults are about 3.7 m long, and newborn calves are about 1.6 m long. They eat small fish, squid, and shrimp. Pygmy Beaked Whales are hard to identify at sea: they are darkish gray, with small, triangular dorsal fins, characters that do not distinguish them from other cetaceans. Their teeth are distinctive: they are very small and are egg-shaped in cross-section. This species was described in 1991, another was described in 2002, and there could be others that are as yet unidentified. They are known from a few strandings on the coast of Peru and Baja California, and are sometimes caught in drift nets used to fish for sharks in the Pacific near Peru.
Head and Body: 3-7 m; pectoral fin - 20-70 cm
Reyes, Mead & Van Waerebeek, 1991. Marine Mammal Science. 7(1):1, 6 figs.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).