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Very little is known about this rarely sighted whale. As of 1996, Tasmacetus shepherdi have been seen alive on only two occasions. Only around 10 beached specimens have ever been examined. The species was first described and named in 1937 and is the sole member of its genus. T. shepherdi is regarded as the most primitive ziphiid whale (Evans 1987, Harrison and Bryden 1988, Tinker 1988, Laughlin 1996).

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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The IUCN lists Tasmacetus shepherdi under the "insufficiently known" category (Simmonds and Hutchinson 1996).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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none

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Tasmacetus shepherdi is not economically important.

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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These whales eat squid and various fishes. Many of these fishes are benthic, suggesting that Tasmacetus shepherdi feeds at or near the sea floor (Tinker 1988).

Animal Foods: fish; mollusks

Primary Diet: carnivore (Molluscivore )

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Although the geographic range of this species is not clearly known, Tasmacetus shepherdi (Shepherd's beaked whale, Tasman whale) probably has a circumpolar distribution in temperate waters of the southern hemisphere. All known specimens have been found on beaches in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, Chile, and the Galapagos Islands (Evans 1987, Tinker 1988).

Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Based on stomach contents and locations where Tasmacetus shepherdi have washed ashore, this species is likely benthic and inhabits temperate waters of the southern hemisphere (Evans 1987, Tinker 1988).

Aquatic Biomes: benthic

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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The body of these whales is around 6-7 meters in length. The head is small with a long, narrow beak. The dorsal fin is small and is located 1/3 of the body length from the tail. The tail fluke is not notched, and the flippers are small and oval in shape. The back is uniform grayish-brown in color, fading to nearly white on the underbelly. Since very few of these whales have been seen while alive and body colors quickly darken following death, the true coloration of Tasmacetus shepherdi is not known (Evans 1987, Tinker 1988).

Shepherd's beaked whale can be easily distinguished from other members of the family Ziphiidae by the presence of 17-29 conical teeth in both the upper and lower jaw. Males possess two additional teeth on the anterior most part of the lower jaw. These teeth, described as possessing "bulbous bases and conical crowns", are larger than the homodont cheek teeth, and are separated from the cheek teeth by a 4 cm diastema. One tooth sits on either side of the mandibular symphysis (Walker 1975, Evans 1987, Tinker 1988).

The blowhole is crescent in shape and is asymmetrically located on the left side of the top of the head. The eye sits directly below the blowhole. The first five vertebrae are fused and the first through seventh pairs of ribs possess two heads (Evans 1987, Tinker 1988).

Range mass: 5600 to 6500 kg.

Range length: 6 to 7 m.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Nothing is currently known about the reproduction of this species.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

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Mundinger, G. 2000. "Tasmacetus shepherdi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tasmacetus_shepherdi.html
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Gerhard Mundinger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Diagnostic Description

provided by FAO species catalogs
Similar in body shape to the species of Mesoplodon described below, Shepherd's beaked whales have a long pointed beak, distinct from the relatively steep forehead. There is a shallow pair of throat creases. The flippers are small and rounded, and the dorsal fin, set far back, is short and falcate. Generally, the notch between the flukes (characteristic of most cetaceans) is absent.

Although all the descriptions are based on partially decomposed specimens, the colour pattern appears to be largely countershaded, dark grey above and lighter below. There are often several dark diagonal bands on the sides.

Unique to beaked whales, this species has a mouthful of sharp functional teeth. There are 17 to 21 per row in the upper jaw, and 17 to 29 in the lower. At the tip of the lower jaw is a pair of typical beaked whale tusks, which erupt only in adult males.

Can be confused with: Shepherd's beaked whales can be confused with other beaked whales, especially Mesoplodon. However, they appear to be somewhat larger than most species of Mesoplodon, and have a more steeply rising forehead.

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Marine mammals of the world. Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood & M.A. Webber - 1993. FAO species identification guide. Rome, FAO. 320 p. 587 figs. . 
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
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Size

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Lengths of 6.6 m (female) and 6.1 to 7 m (males) have been reported. Length at birth is unknown, but is presumed to be around 3 m.
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Marine mammals of the world. Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood & M.A. Webber - 1993. FAO species identification guide. Rome, FAO. 320 p. 587 figs. . 
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
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Brief Summary

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Very little is known of the natural history of this species. All of the confirmed records are at least partially decomposed strandings. There are only 2 possible sighting records.They are known to feed on several species of fish, possibly near the bottom in deep waters.
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Marine mammals of the world. Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood & M.A. Webber - 1993. FAO species identification guide. Rome, FAO. 320 p. 587 figs. . 
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
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Benefits

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No records of human exploitation exist. IUCN:

Insufficiently known.

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Marine mammals of the world. Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood & M.A. Webber - 1993. FAO species identification guide. Rome, FAO. 320 p. 587 figs. . 
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
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Shepherd's beaked whale

provided by wikipedia EN

Shepherd's beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi), also commonly called Tasman's beaked whale or simply the Tasman whale, is a cetacean of the family Ziphiidae. The whale has not been studied extensively. Only four confirmed at sea sightings have been made and 42 strandings recorded (as of 2006). It was first known to science in 1937, being named by W. R. B. Oliver after George Shepherd, curator of the Wanganui Museum, who collected the type specimen near Ohawe on the south Taranaki coast of New Zealand's North Island, in 1933.[2][3]

Description

Adults can reach lengths of 6 metres (20 ft) to 7.1 metres (23 ft) and weigh about 2.32 to 3.48 tons. At birth they may be about 3 metres (9.8 ft) long. They are robust and large-bodied for beaked whales, having a bluff melon and a long, dolphin-like beak.[4] It is the only species of ziphiid with a full set of functional teeth (17 to 27 pairs in both the upper and lower jaws).[3] Adult males also have a pair of tusks at the tip of the lower jaw. They are dark brown dorsally and cream-colored ventrally, with a pale band extending up from the flipper and another pale area extending as a swathe on the posterior flank. The tall, falcate dorsal fin is set about two-thirds the way along the back.[4]

Population and distribution

No population estimates exist for Shepherd's beaked whale. As of 2006, there have been about 42 stranding records of the species from New Zealand (including the Chatham Islands, 24), Argentina (7), Tristan da Cunha (6), Australia (3), and the Juan Fernández Islands (2). There have been five unconfirmed sightings (mostly from New Zealand), as well as a "probable" sighting near Shag Rocks and four confirmed sightings—the first two confirmed sightings occurred in 1985, within a few minutes of each other, off the Tristan da Cunha group (first sighting at ); the third in 2002 near Gough Island (); and the fourth in 2004 south of Tasmania ().[5] In January 2012, a group of up to a dozen of this species were photographed and filmed by the Australian Antarctic Division south of Portland, Victoria.[6] In 2016, at least two groups were observed on Taiaroa sea canyon off Otago Peninsula and this was the first confirmed sighting within New Zealand waters.[7]

Behaviour

Four of the confirmed sightings of this species involved three to six individuals (one group included a calf) in waters from 350 metres (1,150 ft) to 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) deep, while a 2012 sighting involved as many as ten to twelve individuals. The animals surfaced several times, before arching to dive. Some were observed to come to the surface at a steep angle like many other ziphiids, raising their head and beaks out of the water.[5] The Shepherd's beaked whale's blow could be observed with the naked eye at a distance of up to 1,000 metres, within a bushy plume that is relatively tall for a ziphiid varying from 1 to 2 metres in height [8]

The species is seldom seen because of its deep, offshore distribution in waters where sighting conditions can be difficult (the "Roaring Forties" and "Furious Fifties").[5]

Research done on a stranded individual's stomach has indicated that Shepherd's beaked whales eat both fish and squid, as opposed to most beaked whales which only eat cephalopods.[9]

Conservation

There are no reports of this species being hunted or killed accidentally by humans. Shepherd's beaked whale is covered by the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region (Pacific Cetaceans MOU).[10]

Taxonomy

Its nearest relative, the only other living member of the subfamily Ziphiinae, is Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris).

See also

References

  1. ^ Taylor, B.L.; Baird, R.; Barlow, J.; Dawson, S.M.; Ford, J.; Mead, J.G.; Notarbartolo di Sciara, G.; Wade, P. & Pitman, R.L. (2008). "Tasmacetus shepherdi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T21500A9291409. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T21500A9291409.en. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of data deficient.
  2. ^ Te Ara Encyclopedia - Beaked whales – George Shepherd
  3. ^ a b Reeves, R.; Stewart, B.; Clapham, P. & Powell, J. (2003). Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. New York: A.A. Knopf. pp. 318–321. ISBN 0-375-41141-0.
  4. ^ a b Shirihai, H. & Jarrett, B. (2006). Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World. Princeton Field Guides. pp. 43–45. ISBN 0-691-12757-3. OCLC 73174536.
  5. ^ a b c Pitman R.L., van Helden A.L., Best P.B., Pym A. (2006). "Shepherd's beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi): information on appearance and biology based on strandings and at-sea observations". Mar. Mammal Sci. 22 (3): 744–755. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2006.00066.x.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Whale trackers make rare sighting
  7. ^ Gibb J.. 2016. Sighting of beaked whale a first. Otago Daily Times
  8. ^ Donnelly, David M.; Ensor, Paul; Gill, Peter; Clarke, Rohan H.; Evans, Karen; Double, Michael C.; Webster, Trudi; Rayment, Will; Schmitt, Natalie T. (July 2018). "New diagnostic descriptions and distribution information for Shepherd's beaked whale ( Tasmacetus shepherdi ) off Southern Australia and New Zealand: DESCRIPTIONS AND DISTRIBUTION FOR T. SHEPHERDI". Marine Mammal Science. 34 (3): 829–840. doi:10.1111/mms.12478.
  9. ^ Best, P.B.; Smale, M.J.; Glass, J.; Herian, K.; Von Der Heyden, S. (2014). "Identification of stomach contents from a Shepherd's beaked whale Tasmacetus shepherdi stranded on Tristan da Cunha, South Atlantic". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 94 (6): 1093–1097. doi:10.1017/s0025315412001658. hdl:2263/42919.
  10. ^ Official webpage of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region
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Shepherd's beaked whale: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Shepherd's beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi), also commonly called Tasman's beaked whale or simply the Tasman whale, is a cetacean of the family Ziphiidae. The whale has not been studied extensively. Only four confirmed at sea sightings have been made and 42 strandings recorded (as of 2006). It was first known to science in 1937, being named by W. R. B. Oliver after George Shepherd, curator of the Wanganui Museum, who collected the type specimen near Ohawe on the south Taranaki coast of New Zealand's North Island, in 1933.

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Habitat

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cold temperate, oceanic
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van der Land, J. (ed). (2008). UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms (URMO). IUCN (2008) Cetacean update of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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Jacob van der Land [email]

IUCN Red List Category

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Data Deficient (DD)
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van der Land, J. (ed). (2008). UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms (URMO). IUCN (2008) Cetacean update of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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William Perrin [email]