Pygmy beaked whale

The most recently described and smallest member of toothed whales –it was only classified as a distinct species in 1991

The pygmy beaked whale, also known as the dwarf beaked whale, remains one of the most enigmatic and least understood marine mammals inhabiting the world’s oceans. Researching this elusive species has proven to be a formidable challenge, hindered by its infrequent sightings, remote habitat, and elusive behavior. Unlike many other cetaceans, which may frequent coastal waters, the pygmy beaked whale displays a preference for deep offshore environments, often venturing far from shorelines and sea shores.

Despite decades of scientific inquiry, our understanding of the pygmy beaked whale remains limited, with only a handful of confirmed sightings and a mere thirteen dead specimens available for study. These elusive creatures are rarely encountered in the wild, making it challenging for researchers to gather comprehensive data on their behavior, population dynamics, and ecological role within marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, the scarcity of interactions between pygmy beaked whales and human activities has contributed to the dearth of information regarding their natural predators and threats. Unlike some marine mammals that face significant pressures from hunting, bycatch in fishing gear, or habitat degradation, the pygmy beaked whale appears to be relatively unaffected by anthropogenic impacts. Accidental entanglement in fishing gear is infrequent due to their deep-water habitat, and direct hunting of these elusive creatures is rare.

However, despite the apparent lack of direct threats from human activities, the conservation status of the pygmy beaked whale remains uncertain. The scarcity of data on population size, distribution, and trends hinders our ability to assess their conservation status accurately. Moreover, the potential impacts of emerging threats such as ocean noise pollution, climate change, and habitat degradation on pygmy beaked whale populations are not yet fully understood.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Pacific ocean
2020
Chile
2020
Vagrant
Colombia
2020
Costa Rica
2020
Ecuador
2020
El Salvador
2020
Guatemala
2020
Honduras
2020
Mexico
2020
New Zealand
2020
Vagrant: South Is.
Nicaragua
2020
Panama
2020
Peru
2020
United States
2020
California

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No