Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale

The ginkgo-toothed beaked whale is named after the ginkgo tree.

The tree is commonly found on the coastline in Japan near to where this beaked whale has predominantly been found. The shape of the male's teeth are similar to the shape of the leaf.

Other names: Japanese beaked whale

beaked whale illustration
Male Female Calf
Maximum length 5.3m 5.3m 2.0m
Maximum weight Unknown 1,840kg Unknown

IUCN conservation status: Data Deficient

What do Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales look like?

The ginkgo-toothed beaked whale has a robust body and is less heavily scarred than other beaked whales. This is either due to the lack of external teeth and/or suggests that there is little aggression between males. Colouration darkens immediately after death making it hard to determine the colour of live individuals, as there has never been a verified live sighting. However, it is believed that males are dark blue-black with white spots with blotches around the belly area, whereas females are mid-grey with paler bellies than the males. The flippers are small, pointed and narrow. Males have small white spots on their backs, sides and at the base of the tail which may be parasitic scars (for example, cookie cutter shark bites) rather than pigmentation. At the front they have a smoothly sloping forehead and a long beak. The narrow upper jaws are pointed and the lower jaws are arched. An adult male has a single pair of teeth close to the middle of the lower jaw which are largely covered by flaps of skin with only the tip visible, and they do not protrude above the upper jaw as with some other beaked whales.

What's life like for Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales?

Almost nothing is known about the behaviour of ginkgo-toothed beaked whales as the species has never been reliably identified in the wild.

What do Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales eat?

Like other beaked whales and other deep divers, they are thought to feed primarily on squid, although some smaller fish species may also be taken.

Where do Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales live?

Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales are known only from very sparse strandings data, indicating that they are widely distributed in warm temperate and tropical waters of both the Indian and Pacific Ocean, with most records coming from Japan. Records from directed hunts and bycatch suggest that as with other beaked whales, they live in areas of deep water.

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Distribution map

Ginkgo-toothed whale distribution map

Ginkgo-toothed beaked whales need your help

The main threats...

  • Pollution – noise, toxic chemicals, plastic, other litter and oil spills all pose a threat to their ocean home.
  • Fishing gear – Andrews' beaked whales may get accidentally caught in fishing nets and lines, injuring or even killing them.

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