Mesoplodon hectori (Gray, 1871)
English: Hector's beaked whale
German: Hector Schnabelwal
Spanish: Zifio de Héctor
French: Mésoplodon de Hector
Drawing of M. hectori © Wurtz-Artescienza (see links).
Hector's Beaked Whale appears to be dark grey to brown, with pale
grey undersides. Scratches and scars are common on the flanks, while
a small triangular tooth is found exposed on either side of the
lower jaw near the tip. The longest stranded male was 4.3 m, with
the longest female slightly bigger at 4.4 m (Ward 2001).
Hector's beaked whale is circumglobal in temperate waters of the
southern hemisphere. Specimens were recorded from Tierra del Fuego
and Chubut in Argentina, the Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas,
Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Cape Province in South Africa, Tasmania,
North Island and South Island in New Zealand, and Isla Navarino
in Chile (Rice, 1998).
Previously, it was supposed that this species may also be vagrant
in Southern California, where there were several strandings and
sightings from 1975 to 1979 (Rice, 1998). However, the California
specimens have recently been found to belong to the new species
Mesoplodon perrini found in the Eastern North Pacific (Dalebout
et al. 2000; Dalebout, pers. comm.; Dalebout et al. 2002), which
would confine M. hectori to the Southern Hemisphere.
Distribution of Mesoplodon
hectori (mod. from Carwardine, 1995; copyright
CMS / GROMS; enlarge map).
The species is circumpolar in temperate waters of the
southern hemisphere (Pitman 2002) ).
3. Population size
4. Biology and Behaviour
According to Carwardine (1995), with only 2 probable sightings
in the wild, there is little information on behavior. However, this
species may be unusual for a Mesoplodon because, in both instances,
one of the animals seemed inquisitive and actually approached the
boat. If this is normal behavior, it seems strange that there have
not been more sightings (unless the species is rare).
Pairs may be the typical group size. Hector's beaked whales are
known to feed on squid (Jefferson et al. 1993).
There is no recent literature on this species.
Categorised as "Data Deficient" by the IUCN (see "links").
Hector's beaked whale is not listed by CMS, but see recommendations
for southern South American cetaceans in Hucke-Gaete
8. Sources and further information
see "Genus Mesoplodon
- Beaked whales: Introduction and Sources"
Boris Culik, Kiel, Germany, 2003