The melon is flattened compared to other Mesoplodon species. The melon slopes smoothly onto the medium length beak. The mouthline curves upward posteriorly, forming a prominent arch.
Males are gray to black over a majority of their bodies. The head has a prominent black cap on dorsal surface encompassing the blowhole and converging laterally to encompass the eye. The flipper pocket is also darker than surrounding skin. Females and juveniles are dark brownish-grey dorsally with lateral areas grading to a much lighter ventral coloration. The head has a prominent black cap on dorsal surface encompassing the blowhole and converging laterally to encompass the eye. The flipper pocket is also darker than surrounding skin.
The ventral surface of the flukes may exhibit concentric, striations that radiate out laterally from insertion of caudal peduncle. These striations can vary from light gray to white. Diffuse mottling or spotted pigmentation may occur on the ventral body surface from the throat region to the caudal peduncle. These markings are consistent with scars caused by Penella sp. and / or the cookie cutter shark, Isistius brasiliensis. Penella sp. causes small 1-2 cm diameter punctate scars, while Isistius bites lightly pigmented circular to oval shaped scars 4-8 cm in diameter. Isistius scars are generally concentrated on the posterior half of body.
Adult body length ranges between 5 to 6 m. Recorded maximum body length for adult males and females is 6.0 m and 5.4 m, respectively. Body length at birth is 2.2 m.
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