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Hubb’s beaked whale

Mesoplodon carlhubbsi

As the name suggests, Hubbs' beaked whale was discovered by Carl Hubbs.

Unfortunately, like other whales in this family, little is known about this mysterious lover of the deep.

Other names: Arch-beaked whale

Hubb's beaked whale illustration
Male Female Calf
Maximum length 5.4m 5.4m 2.5m
Maximum weight Unknown 1,500kg Unknown

IUCN conservation status: Data Deficient

What do Hubb's beaked whales look like?

The male Hubbs' beaked whale is one of the few beaked whales that can be easily and positively identified at sea due to three very distinctive features; a raised white forehead (or white 'cap'), stocky white elongated beak and a strongly arched lower jaw with 2 large tusks in the middle and clearly visible when the mouth is closed. The male is dark grey to black in color and the skin is scratched with long, white scars. The female has a longer beak and less strongly arched jaw from which the teeth do not erupt. The female also lacks the white forehead and both the females and immature whales are medium grey with pale grey undersides. The Hubbs' beaked whale has a rotund spindle-shaped body similar to many of the other beaked whale species and the flippers and dorsal fin are relatively small.

What's life like for Hubb's beaked whale? 

As there are relatively few confirmed sightings of this species there is little understanding of its behavior. The scars on the male suggest that they may fight each other, perhaps in competition for females.

What do Hubb's 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 Hubb's beaked whales live?

This species of beaked whale appears to be limited in its distribution to the North Pacific. Sightings have been made in the eastern North Pacific, ranging from British Columbia to California, and also in the western North Pacific, off Japan although as a lover of deep sea habitat it is believed that their range stretches right across the North Pacific.


Distinctive features

The male Hubbs' beaked whale is one of the few beaked whales that can be easily identified due to its distinctive features, not least its ‘tusks.’

Distribution map

Hubb's beaked whale distribution map

Hubb's 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 – Hubb's beaked whales may get accidentally caught in fishing nets and lines, injuring or even killing them.

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