Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Ziphiidae

Scientific Name: Mesoplodon bowdoini
Species Authority: Andrews, 1908
Common Name(s):
English Andrew's Beaked Whale, Splaytooth Beaked Whale, Andrews' Beaked Whale
French Mésoplodon De Andrew, Mésoplodon De Bowdoin
Spanish Ballena De Pico De Andrew, Zifio De Andrew
Taxonomic Notes: Some researchers have suggested that this species and Hubb’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon carlhubbsi) may represent subspecies of the same species. However, recent genetic (Dalebout et al. 1998, 2004) and morphological studies (Baker 2001) have supported the distinctness of the species.

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)
There is no information on abundance or trends in abundance for this species. As a relatively uncommon species it is potentially vulnerable to low-level threats and a 30% global reduction over three generations cannot be ruled out (criterion A).
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:To date, Andrews' beaked whale is known only from a few dozen stranding records between 32°S and 55°S; most of these have come from the South Pacific and Indian oceans (well over half are from New Zealand – Mead 1989; Baker 2001). Strandings have occurred in southern Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Tristan de Cunha, the Falkland Islands, Macquarie Island, Argentina and Uruguay. The overall range may be circumpolar in the Southern Hemisphere; however, there is a gap in the known distribution between the Chatham Islands, east of New Zealand and the west coast of South America.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Australia (New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia); Falkland Islands (Malvinas); New Zealand (Antipodean Is., Chatham Is., North Is., South Is.); Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Tristan da Cunha); Uruguay
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There have been no confirmed sightings at sea, and no population genetic analyses have been done. As such, nothing is known of the population status of Andrews' beaked whale.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Essentially nothing is known of the biology of this species, other than the few facts that have been gleaned from stranded individuals (Baker 2001). It is presumed to be a creature of deep, offshore waters (Pitman 2002).

Andrews' beaked whales are assumed to feed primarily on cephalopods, like other members of the genus (Baker 2001). Based on the concentration of stranding records in this area (Baker 2001), the waters around New Zealand may represent an area of concentration for the species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No threats are known (Reeves et al. 2003), but there are a number of potential threats.

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).

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.

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.

Predicted impacts of global climate change on the marine environment may affect this species of whale, although the nature of impacts is unclear (Learmonth et al. 2006).

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.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability: Marginal  
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.2. Marine Oceanic - Mesopelagic (200-1000m)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.3. Marine Oceanic - Bathypelagic (1000-4000m)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.4. Garbage & solid waste
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.6. Excess energy -> 9.6.3. Noise pollution
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing: Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Baker, A.N. 2001. Status, relationships, and distribution of Mesoplodon bowdoini Andrews, 1908 (Cetacea: Ziphiidae). Marine Mammal Science 17(3): 473-493.

Balcomb, K. C. and Claridge, D. E. 2001. A mass stranding of cetaceans caused by naval sonar in the Bahamas. Bahamas Journal of Science 8(2): 2-12.

Cox, T. M., Ragen, T. J., Read, A. J., Vos, E., Baird, R. W., Balcomb, K., Barlow, J., Caldwell, J., Cranford, T., Crum, L., D'Amico, A., D'Spain, A., Fernández, J., Finneran, J., Gentry, R., Gerth, W., Gulland, F., Hildebrand, J., Houser, D., Hullar, T., Jepson, P. D., Ketten, D., Macleod, C. D., Miller, P., Moore, S., Mountain, D., Palka, D., Ponganis, P., Rommel, S., Rowles, T., Taylor, B., Tyack, P., Wartzok, D., Gisiner, R., Mead, J. and Benner, L. 2006. Understanding the impacts of anthropogenic sound on beaked whales. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 7(3): 177-187.

Dalebout, M. L., Baker, C. S., Mead, J. G., Cockcroft, V. G. and Yamada, T. 2004. A comprehensive and validated molecular taxonomy of beaked whales, Family Ziphiidae. Journal of Heredity 95: 459-473.

Dalebout, M. L., Van Helden, A., Van Waerebeek, K. and Baker, C. S. 1998. Molecular genetic identification of southern hermisphere beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidae). Molecular Ecology 7: 687-694.

Fernández, A., Edwards, J. F., Rodriguez, F., Espinosa, A., De Los Monteros, Herraez, P., Castro, P., Jaber, J. R., Martin, V. and Arebelo, M. 2005. "Gas and fat embolic syndrome" involving a mass stranding of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae) exposed to anthropogenic sonar signals. Veterinary Pathology 42: 446-457.

Gomercic, H., Gomercic, M. D., Gomericic, T., Lucic, H., Dalebout, M., Galov, A., Skrtic, D., Curkovic, S., Vukovic, S. and Huber, D. 2006. Biological aspects of Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) recorded in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. European Journal of Wildlife Research 52(3): 182-187.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Jepson, P. D., Arebelo, M., Deaville, R., Patterson, I. A. P., Castro, P., Baker, J. R., Degollada, E., Ross, H. M., Herraez, P., Pocknell, A. M., Rodriguez, F., Howie, F. E., Espinosa, A., Reid, R. J., Jaber, J. R., Martin, V., Cunningham, A. A. and Fernandez, A. 2003. Gas-bubble lesions in stranded cetaceans. Nature 425: 575-576.

Laporta, P., Praderi, R., Little, V. and Le Bas, A. E. 2005. An Andrew's beaked whale Mesoplodon bowdoini (Cetacea: Ziphiidae) stranded on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals 4(2): 101-112.

Learmonth, J.A., Macleod, C.D., Santos, M.B., Pierce, G.J., Crick, H.Q.P. and Robinson, R.A. 2006. Potential effects of climate change on marine mammals. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 44: 431-464.

Malakoff, D. 2002. Suit ties whale deaths to research cruise. Science 298: 722-723.

Mead, J. G. 1989. Beaked whales of the genus Mesoplodon. In: S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison (eds), Handbook of marine mammals, Vol. 4: River dolphins and the larger toothed whales, pp. 349-430. Academic Press.

Pitman, R. L. 2002. Mesoplodont whales Mesoplodon spp. In: W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J. G. M. Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 738-742. Academic Press.

Reeves, R. R., Smith, B. D., Crespo, E. A. and Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. 2003. Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises: 2002-2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World's Cetaceans. IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Wang, J. Y. and Yang, S. C. 2006. Unusual cetacean stranding events of Taiwan in 2004 and 2005. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 8: 283-292.

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 bowdoini. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T13242A3425144. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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