Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PeerJ. 2017 Mar 7;5:e3059. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3059. eCollection 2017.

True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia.

Author information

1
Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM), University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom; BIOECOMAC. Department of Animal Biology, Edaphology and Geology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Grupo de Investigación en Conservación (GIC), Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
2
Society for the Study of Cetaceans in the Canary Islands Archipelago (SECAC) , Lanzarote , Canary Islands , Spain.
3
Institute of Marine Research (IMAR), University of the Azores, Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Faial, Azores, Portugal; Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, United States.
4
Zoo Duisburg , Duisburg , Germany.
5
BIOECOMAC. Department of Animal Biology, Edaphology and Geology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom.
6
Canarias Conservacion , Tenerife , Canary Islands , Spain.
7
BIOECOMAC. Department of Animal Biology, Edaphology and Geology, University of La Laguna , Tenerife , Canary Islands , Spain.
8
BIOECOMAC. Department of Animal Biology, Edaphology and Geology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Grupo de Investigación en Conservación (GIC), Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
9
Whale Watch Azores , Faial , Azores , Portugal.
10
M.E.E.R. La Gomera , Berlin , Germany.
11
World Cetacean Alliance , Brighton , England , United Kingdom.
12
Cetacean Watching (CW Azores) , Pico , Azores , Portugal.
13
Futurismo , Ponta Delgada , Azores , Portugal.
14
Society for the Study of Cetaceans in the Canary Islands Archipelago (SECAC), Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain; CEAMAR, Cetaceans and Marine Research Institute of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote, Spain.
15
Espaço Talassa , Lajes do Pico , Azores , Portugal.
16
Legionowo , Poland.
17
Scottish Ocean Institute, University of St. Andrews , St Andrews , Scotland , United Kingdom.

Abstract

The True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus, True 1913) is a poorly known member of the Ziphiidae family. Its distribution in the northern hemisphere is thought to be restricted to the temperate or warm temperate waters of the North Atlantic, while a few stranding records from the southern hemisphere suggest a wider and antitropical distribution, extending to waters from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to South Africa, Mozambique, Australia and the Tasman Sea coast of New Zealand. This paper (i) reports the first molecular confirmation of the occurrence of the True's beaked whale at the southern limit of its distribution recorded in the northeast Atlantic: the Azores and Canary Islands (macaronesian ecoregion); (ii) describes a new colouration for this species using evidence from a whale with molecular species confirmation; and (iii) contributes to the sparse worldwide database of live sightings, including the first underwater video recording of this species and close images of a calf. Species identification was confirmed in two cases using mitochondrial DNA control region and cytochrome b gene markers: a subadult male True's beaked whale that stranded in El Hierro, Canary Islands, in November 2012, and a subadult male found floating dead near Faial, the Azores, in July 2004. The whale that stranded in the Canary Islands had a clearly delimited white area on its head, extending posteriorly from the tip of the beak to cover the blowhole dorsally and the gular grooves ventrally. This colouration contrasts with previous descriptions for the species and it may be rare, but it exemplifies the variability of the colouration of True's beaked whales in the North Atlantic, further confirmed here by live sightings data. The recording of several observations of this species in deep but relatively coastal waters off the Azores and the Canary Islands suggests that these archipelagos may be unique locations to study the behaviour of the enigmatic True's beaked whale.

KEYWORDS:

Azores; Canary Islands; Cetacean distribution; Colouration patterns; Cytochrome b; Genetics; North Atlantic; Phenotype; Ziphiidae; mtDNA

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PeerJ, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center