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Biology

The elusive nature of Gray's beaked whale, together with its far offshore habitat and apparent rarity, mean that little is known about the biology and behaviour of this marine species (5) (6). Like other member of the genus, it is likely to feed mainly on cephalopods such as squid (1) (5) (10), with most prey being caught in deep water, below depths of 200 metres, and believed to be swallowed whole (3) (5). Some fish may also be taken (5) (10), and prey is thought to be sucked into the mouth with the aid of a muscular tongue and throat pleats, which allow the mouth floor to be distended (5). The teeth of Gray's beaked whale are no longer needed for feeding, and in the adult male these have evolved into fighting weapons, with males often bearing long, white tooth scars, which are thought to be evidence of dominance battles (3) (5) (10). Most Gray's beaked whales are seen alone or in pairs or small groups, though a mass stranding of 28 animals has suggested that this species may be more social than other beaked whales (3) (6) (9). Very little information is available on the breeding behaviour of Gray's beaked whale (10), but, as in all cetaceans, females give birth to a single calf (5).

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Source: ARKive

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