Blainville’s Beaked Whales in Tenerife
Blainville’s Beaked Whale Sightings
There is a population of Blainville’s Beaked whales that live offshore of Costa Adeje in Tenerife. Association TONINA has produced a catalog of the Blainville’s Beaked whales that reside here. These deep diving whales are not commonly observed due to their long dive times, sometimes lasting over 45 minutes as deep as 1500 meters!
We usually see small groups of Blainville’s Beaked whales together, 5-6 individuals consisting of one adult male with several females. These whales are typically several kilometres off the coast, which is why having a fast boat and a Captains sightings network gives us the best chance of seeing beaked whales during our tours.
The volcanic islands of Tenerife and La Gomera share an ocean trench over 3 kilometres deep where the Blainville’s Beaked whales can be found hunting. Into these abyssal waters is where we go searching for these elusive whales as it is home to their favourite food, deep ocean squid.
Blainville’s Beaked Whale Info
Blainville’s Beaked whales are one of the most widely distributed beaked whale species inhabiting tropical and temperate seas. They live small groups believed to be led by a single adult male that protects his ‘harem’ from other males that compete for the opportunity to mate. They have locally distinct populations with high site fidelity and do not migrate.
Coloration is darker grey dorsally and lighter grey ventrally often with obvious cookie cutter shark scars. The males head is typically white with scar tissue, possibly from sparring with other competitive males. They reach 4.6 meters in length and up to 1000 kilograms. They have a very distinct rostrum with an overlapping lower jaw, in the males the rear molars erupt from the mouth like small tusks and are typically crowned with barnacles giving them a unique appearance.
Their favourite food is smaller squid which they suck into their mouths, an unusual feeding strategy in cetaceans. Their lifespan is unknown, although it is believed adulthood is around 9 years of age with females giving birth to a single calf of 2 meters and 50 kilograms.