Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Whales

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale(Ziphius cavirostris)

Description

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale is a medium sized whale; the average body length is 6.4m, but it can reach more than 7m. The females are usually larger than the males. The colouration of these whales is variable, but adults usually have a base colour between dark grey and rusty brown. Adults usually have many scars on their body as a result of battling. Males have two teeth that protrude out of the mouth. This species is difficult to observe as the individuals spend little time at the surface.

Habitat

It is a pelagic species often associated with deep slopes and canyons. Unless the continental shelf is narrow and steep, it is rarely seen close to the coast.

Diet

Mainly deep sea squids, but also fish.

Protection Status

IUCN status in the Mediterranean Sea: Data Deficient (Least Concern in the world) Very little is known about the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale populations in the Greek seas and the Mediterranean overall. This species is known to be highly vulnerable to anthropogenic noise widely produced throughout Mediterranean waters by military and industrial activities, which affects the whales’ communication and orientation. A mass stranding of this species occurred in the Ionian and Adriatic seas in 2011 and coincided with a military exercise carried out in the area. Apart from that, Cuvier’s beaked whales threatened by fishery by-catch and ingestion of plastics.

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