The True's Beaked Whale
) is a medium sized whale in the Mesoplodont genus. The common name is in reference to Frederick W. True
Frederick William True was an American biologist, the first head curator of biology at the United States National Museum, now part of the Smithsonian Institution....
, a curator at the United States National Museum (now the Smithsonian). There are two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (this species is absent in the tropics) which may be separate subspecies.
The species was first described in 1913 by Frederick W. True from an adult female that had stranded on the outer bank of Bird Island Shoal, Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...
, in July 1912.
This whale has a normal Mesoplodont body, except that it is rotund in the middle and tapering towards the ends. The two distinctive teeth on the males are small and set on the very end of the beak. The melon is rather bulbous, and leads into a short beak. There is a crease behind the blowhole, and a sharp dorsal ridge on the back near the dorsal fin. The coloration is gray to brownish gray on the back which is lighter below, and notably darker on the "lips", around the eye, and near the dorsal fin. There is sometimes a dark blaze between the head and dorsal fin as well. One female in the Southern Hemisphere was bluish black with a white area between the dorsal fin and tail as well as a light gray jaw and throat, as well as black speckling. Scars from fighting and cookiecutter shark
The cookiecutter shark , also called the cigar shark, is a species of small dogfish shark in the family Dalatiidae. This shark occurs in warm, oceanic waters worldwide, particularly near islands, and has been recorded from as deep as . It migrates vertically up to every day, approaching the...
s are present on males. This species reaches around 5.3 metres (17.4 ft) with the females weighing 1400 kilograms (3,086.5 lb) and the males weighing 1010 kilograms (2,226.7 lb). They are around 2.2 metres (7.2 ft) long when born.
They have been seen in small groups, and are believed to be squid eaters. Little else is known.
Population and distribution
One population, possibly genetically distinct, lives in the Northern Hemisphere and has stranded from Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...
in the western Atlantic to Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...
in the eastern Atlantic and as far south as Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...
, the Bahamas, and Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...
. Another population lives in the Southern Hemisphere and has stranded in South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
. The species does not inhabit the Southern Atlantic or Northern Indian Ocean, and appears to avoid tropical waters. No population estimates have been established, but it is believed to be one of the rarest species of whale.