Northern Bottlenose Whale
Family: Ziphiidae
Genus: Hyperoodon
Species: Ampullatus

Also known as Bottle-nose Whale, or barrelhead.

Distribution:
North & South Atlantic; Northern Atlantic in summer, moving south in winter.

Size:
Male grows up to 29 feet long from head to tail, and up to 10 tons in weight. The female is normally several feet shorter.

Colouring:
Northern Bottlenose are extremely variable in colouring when young, varying from umber browns to light grays. With age, skin typically lightens to cream.

Diet:
Squid & deep-sea fish.

Gestation & Longevity:
12 months & 40 years, respectively.


Members of the Ziphiidae - derived from xiphos, the Greek for sword, hence Ziphiidae, the "sword-nosed whales" - family are notoriously elusive, some genera only known through a handful of skeletal remains.

The Northern Bottlenose is no exception, but there is at least slightly more known about this species.

Usually travelling in pods of only 2-4, they are normally found in the Atlantic Ocean. They are deep-sea predators, hunting at depths of up to 3,500 feet, sometimes staying down for as long as 2 hours, a feat only rivalled by the Sperm Whale.

The most distinctive feature of the Bottlenose isn't its "beak" (strictly, this is simply an elongated upper & lower jaw), but its pronounced forehead bulge. Normally paler than the rest of the whale's body, this bulge doesn't appear to have any discernible function, though it may be connected to sexual display, as it only seems to appear in the male Bottlenose.
It did, however, inspire the nickname given to the creature by Norwegian fishermen: barrelhead.

See also...

Cetacean
Beaked Whale
Whale

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