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Mesoplodon grayi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA ZIPHIIDAE

Scientific Name: Mesoplodon grayi
Species Authority: Von Haast, 1876
Common Name(s):
English Gray's Beaked Whale, Southern Beaked Whale
French Mésoplodon De Gray
Spanish Ballena De Pico De Gray, Zifio De Gray

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Taylor, B.L., Baird, R., Barlow, J., Dawson, S.M., Ford, J., Mead, J.G., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Wade, P. & Pitman, R.L.
Reviewer(s): Hammond, P.S. & Perrin, W.F. (Cetacean Red List Authority)
Justification:
There is no information on global abundance or trends in abundance for this species. It is not believed to be uncommon but it is potentially vulnerable to low-level threats and a 30% global reduction over three generations cannot be ruled out (criterion A).
History:
1996 Data Deficient
1994 Insufficiently Known (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Gray’s beaked whale is primarily a southern Hemisphere cool temperate species, which is apparently circum-Antarctic in occurrence (Mead 1989, MacLeod et al. 2006). Most records are from south of 30°S. There are many sighting records from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters, and in summer months they appear near the Antarctic Peninsula and along the shores of the continent (sometimes in the sea ice). Many of the stranding records are from New Zealand, southern Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The area between the south island of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands has been suggested to be a “hot spot” for sightings of this species (Dalebout et al. 2004). There is one record of a Gray’s beaked whale straying into the Northern Hemisphere, a stranding record in the Netherlands (Boschma 1950). This was almost certainly an extralimital occurrence.
Countries:
Native:
Argentina (Buenos Aires, Chubut, Tierra del Fuego); Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Brazil; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); French Southern Territories (Amsterdam-St. Paul Is., Crozet Is., Kerguelen); Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Maldives; New Zealand (Antipodean Is., Chatham Is., Kermadec Is.); Peru; South Africa (Marion-Prince Edward Is.); South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (South Georgia); Uruguay
Vagrant:
Netherlands
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – Antarctic; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Indian Ocean – Antarctic; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species may not be as rare as some other species of the genus Mesoplodon, based on the number of records. In particular, they seem to be fairly common around New Zealand based on the frequency of strandings (Baker 1999). However, there are no estimates of abundance. There is no information on trends in the global abundance of this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Gray's beaked whale primarily occurs in deep waters beyond the edge of the continental shelf. Some sightings have been made in very shallow water; usually of sick animals coming in to strand (Gales et al. 2002, Dalebout et al. 2004).

Like other mesoplodonts, Gray’s beaked whales are thought to feed mainly on cephalopods in deep waters.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Direct hunting has never been associated with this species. Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely. Even low levels of bycatch might cause unsustainable impacts on this group of naturally rare cetaceans.

This species, like other beaked whales, is likely to be vulnerable to loud anthropogenic sounds, such as those generated by navy sonar and seismic exploration (Cox et al. 2006).

As a cold water species, Gray’s beaked whale may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures (Learmonth et al. 2006). The effect of such changes in range size or position on this species is unknown.

Evidence from stranded individuals of several similar species indicates that they have swallowed discarded plastic items, which may eventually lead to death (e.g. Scott et al. 2001); this species may also be at risk.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES. Research is needed to determine the impacts of potential threatening processes on this species.

Citation: 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. Mesoplodon grayi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 October 2014.
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