Spade-toothed beaked whale

Mesoplodon traversii
Other names: 
  • Traver's beaked whale
  • Bahamondi's beaked whale
Maximum length: 
  • Male: 4.5m
  • Female: 4.5m
  • Calf: Unknown
Maximum weight: 
  • Male: Unknown
  • Female: Unknown
  • Calf: Unknown
  • Unknown but assumed to be mainly squid as with other beaked whales
Estimated population: 
IUCN Listing: 
CITES Appendix: 
CMS Appendix: 
Not Listed

The spade-toothed beaked whale follows the trend set by other beaked whales in that information is sparse. However, this species has the distinction of possibly being the least known of all the world's whales. It is described from skeletal remains consisting of two skulls and one jawbone. It has never been seen in the wild.


Further investigation of the remains found indicated that the skull morphology of the spade-toothed beaked whale is similar to that of the strap-toothed beaked whale. It is assumed to be a medium sized beaked whale, with the adult male possessing two large tusks that erupt half-way along the lower jaw, and curl up and over the beak. Specific characteristics like colouration are unknown.


Spade-toothed whales have never been seen in the wild, and nothing is known of their behaviour however it is assumed to have similar traits as other members of the Mesoplodon genus.


The three specimens of spade-toothed beaked whales were found in New Zealand and Chile and the species is thought to be found only in the southern hemisphere, possibly just in the South Pacific. Similar to other beaked whales, threats to this species are likely to include noise pollution and climate change. Although no abundance estimate is available it is thought that spade-toothed beaked whales may be rare due to the paucity of sightings and strandings. It is listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient.

Distribution map: