Cetaceans

Andrews' beaked whale. Mesoplodon bowdoini. Known from some twenty strandings off Australia and New Zealand, this whale has two massive teeth that project from its mouth. The beak and lower jaw are white, and the body is dark blue-black. Length, 13-15 feet. First described by Roy Chapman Andrews in 1908. Also known as the deep-crested whale. One of the New Zealand specimens was identified by DNA analysis in 1998 as a Blainville's beaked whale (M. densirostris), not previously known in those waters.

Bahamonde's beaked whale. Mesoplodon ba-hamondi. Known only from the discovery of a skull collected at Playa Blanca, Robinson Crusoe Island, in the Juan Fernández Archipelago, west of Chile, in June 1986. Named in 1996.

Baiji. Lipotes vexillifer. A little-known animal, very shy and retiring. Pale gray in color, 5-8 feet long, with a long, narrow beak. This Yangtze River dolphin has been mentioned in Chinese literature since at least 200 b.c. but was discovered by Western science only in 1916 when a specimen was sent to the U.S. National Museum. A captive male named Qi-Qi provided much information about the species in the 1980s. Only a few dozen individuals remained in 1998.

Clymene dolphin. Stenella clymene. First described in 1846 as Delphinus metis from a single skull of unknown provenance. For a long time, it was considered a variation of the Spinner dolphin (S. longirostris), but in 1981, this 5- to 6-foot Atlantic dolphin was given its own species name.

Fraser's dolphin. Lagenodelphis hosei. A 6- to 8-foot dolphin with a dark lateral stripe that was first described in 1956 by Francis Charles Fraser from a skeleton collected in Sarawak in 1895. Not seen alive until 1971, when strandings and sightings in the Pacific and Indian Oceans revealed it to be relatively common.

Gingko-toothed beaked whale. Mesoplodon ginkgodens. Blue-black (male) or medium-gray (female), this 15- to 17-foot whale was first seen off Tokyo in 1957. Named for its distinctive teeth, which look like gingko leaves.

Hubbs' beaked whale. Mesoplodon carlhubbsi. Stranded in 1945 off La Jolla, California, and misidentified by Carl Hubbs as an Andrews' beaked whale (M. bowdoini), this dark, 16- to 17-foot whale with a white beak and cap was recognized as a separate species in 1963 by J. C. Moore.

Lesser beaked whale. Mesoplodon peruvianus. Dark-gray Pacific whale, 11-12 feet long. Identified in 1976 from bones found at a fish market in San Andres, Peru, by James G. Mead and officially described in 1991.

Longman's beaked whale. Indopacetus pacifi-cus. Known only from two skulls (one found on a Queensland beach in 1882, the other in 1955 in a fertilizer factory in Mogadishu, Somalia), this whale was first described in 1926 by Heber A. Longman, who classed it as a Mesoplodon. Beaked-whale expert Joseph Curtis Moore created a separate genus for it in 1968, based on its shallow tooth sockets and long beak. No one has ever seen a living specimen, though Robert L. Pitman thinks it might account for unidentified beaked whales seen in the eastern Pacific.

Perrin's beaked whale. Mesoplodon perrini. Beaked whale described in 2001 from four incomplete specimens stranded on the east coast of the United States.

Pygmy killer whale. Feresa attenuata. Rarely seen in the wild though widely distributed, this little-known, 7- to 8-foot blackfish was recorded in 1827 and 1875 but not seen again until its rediscovery in 1952, when a specimen was caught near Taiji, Japan.

Shepherd's beaked whale. Tasmacetus shep-herdi. Distinguished from other beaked whales by the many small teeth lining both jaws and the two large teeth at the tip of the mouth, this primitive, dark-brown and creamy-white whale was first examined in 1933 by G. Shepherd when one washed ashore at Owahe Beach, New Zealand. Length, 19-23 feet. A formal description was published in 1937 by Walter R. B. Oliver. Only two possible sightings of a living animal have been recorded, one from New Zealand and another from the Seychelles Islands.

Spectacled porpoise. Phocoena dioptrica. Known from about ten specimens from the southern Atlantic coast of South America, this black-and-white, 4- to 7-foot animal was first described in 1912 by Fernando Lahille. Several have also been seen around New Zealand.

True's beaked whale. Mesoplodon mirus. Dark gray or bluish-gray, 16-17 feet long. First described by Frederick True in 1913 from a specimen stranded in North Carolina.

Vaquita. Phocoena sinus. One of the smallest cetaceans (4-5 feet long), this porpoise is found only in the extreme northern part of the Gulf of California. First discovered in 1950 and described in 1958 by Kenneth Norris and William McFar-land. Also known as Cochito or the Gulf of California harbor porpoise. A 1997 survey gave an estimate of only 567 individuals remaining in the gulf.

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