Blainville’s Beaked whales are a deep diving species that hunts medium sized squid and octopus in the deep ocean. The underwater topography of Tenerife’s volcanic origins creates a very deep marine environment of over 3 kilometres of depth not far off of Costa Adeje. These deep ocean waters allow for a myriad of different prey species for cetaceans which in turn creates opportunity and the presence of a variety of whales and dolphins off of Tenerife’s coasts.
This appeared to be a female Blainville’s Beaked whale as there were no erupted molars along the rear of the jaw and no scarring on the front of the head or torso. Males have elongated rear molars that erupt from the rear jaw above the upper jaw and typically have encrustations growing on them. The older males often have deeply scarred heads and forward bodies from what is believed to be sparring with other males competing for the opportunity to mate with females.
Todays encounter was exciting for our staff of Biologists and for the guests. We only see the Blainville’s Beaked whales every few months along Costa Adeje in Tenerife. This is due to the relatively small size of their population, about 66 different individuals have been identified by Association Tonina in their Photo ID catalog. But also because they are a deep diving species, often underwater for up to an hour, surfacing to oxygenate their blood before returning to the dark depths to hunt.