Beaked whales (ziphiids) are among the most visible inhabitants of the deep sea, due to their large size and the need to surface to breathe. The group includes the deepest diving mammals, which can dive 100s or 1,000s of meters to find their prey. Although distributed worldwide, much about their natural history remains poorly understood, as the earth’s deep ocean remains less understood than the surface of Mars, and much more biodiversity is waiting to be discovered.
The newly identified species, named the Ramari’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon eueu), occurs throughout temperate southern hemisphere waters, with reports from several locations off South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The Ramari’s beaked whale probably spends a lot of time offshore in deep waters, therefore only a few specimens have been discovered. However, its discovery now brings the total number of beaked whale species up to 24.
Source: Carroll, E. L., McGowen, M. R., McCarthy, M. L., Marx, F. G., Aguilar, N., Dalebout, M. L., … & Olsen, M. T. (2021). Speciation in the deep: genomics and morphology reveal a new species of beaked whale Mesoplodon eueu. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 288(1961), 20211213.