A Gervais’ beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus) washed ashore in southeastern Brazil: extra limital record?

Abstract: On 10 August 2001, a beaked whale was found dead on a rocky shore at São Vicente (23°58primeS; 46°24primeW), São Paulo state, Brazil. The damaged specimen was approximately 390 cm in length and in an advanced state of decomposition. It was identified as a Mesoplodon europaeus based on the following characteristics: (1) the presence of a flattened pair of teeth placed near the posterior half of the short mandible symphysis; (2) when viewed laterally in an upright position with the long axis of the rostrum horizontal, the premaxillary foramina straddle a horizontal plane, transecting the centres of the maxillary formamina; and (3) both the protuberance of the maxillary, which interrupts the antorbital notch, and the ridge that extends back from this protuberance are conspicuous. Cranial measurements are presented. This is the southernmost record of this species in the southern hemisphere, the first one to the southwest Atlantic and the first one along the Brazilian coast. Recent beaked whale records along the Brazilian coast, due to the increasing of cetological research, raises the possibility of ordinary distribution, rather than extra limital observations. Further investigations are needed to draw reliable conclusions on Gervais’ beaked whales in the southern hemisphere.


Document Type: Research article

Pages: 404-410

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