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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(beaked whales), a family of mammals of the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales). The body measures 4–12.5 m long. The snout is extended into a beak; the cushion of fat (frontal process) is well developed. There are two to four furrows on the throat that converge anteriorly. The flukes have no notches on the rear edge.

The family comprises five genera: Berardius (two species), Hyperoodon (two species), Ziphius (one species), Mesoplodon (11 species), and Tasmacetus (one species). There are one or two pairs of teeth in the lower jaw only; an exception is the Tasmanian, or shepherd’s beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi), which has as many as 93 teeth. The Ziphiidae are distributed in all the oceans. In the waters of the USSR there are four genera with five species: the bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus), Cuvier’s beaked whale (or goose-beaked whale; Ziphius cavirostris), Baird’s whale (Berardius bairdi), the Mesoplodon steinegeri, and Sowerby’s whale (Mesoplodon bidens).

The Ziphiidae feed on cephalopods, often diving for 15–30 minutes to depths of hundreds of meters. The bottlenose whale and Cuvier’s beaked whale are objects of commerce.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Biological observations on Mesoplodon carlhubbsi (Cetacea: Ziphiidae).
Declining abundance of beaked whales (Family Ziphiidae) in the California Current large marine ecosystem.
Delphinidae was the most common family recorded, followed by Balaenopteridae, Ziphiidae, Physeteridae, and Kogiidae.
(2003) reviewed available information on the diet of beaked whales and concluded that fishes are important prey of 5 of the 10 (Family Ziphiidae) species for which diet information was available.
Abundance in other taxonomic groups included ~5800 baleen whales (Mysticeti), ~7000 beaked whales (Ziphiidae), and ~3200 sperm whales (Physeteridae).
Abstract: Nineteen species of cetaceans (families Balaenopteridae, Kogiidae, Physeteridae, Ziphiidae and Delphinidae) occur in the Costa Rican Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Other marine mammal interactions of note occurred with a killer whale, unidentified beaked whales (family Ziphiidae), a pygmy or dwarf sperm whale (Kogia spp.), a northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus), and two baleen whales (Table 2).
Of the four families of cetaceans known for the country, the one that accounted more for both species and strandings was Delphinidae with 61.5% (8) and 62.9% (17) respectively, and only Ziphiidae had no cases at all (Fig.
In species of these genus, the teeth were reduced in number, enlarged in size, and their form was modified (specially in males of Ziphiidae).
4 0 Unidentified Ziphiidae 3 0 Unidentified small whale 4 0 Unidentified odontocete 12 0 Small whales and large dolphins Pilot whale (Globicephala spp.) 10 0 Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 35 3 Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) 22 0 "Coastal" Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) 24 3 Unidentified T truncatus or S.
In the family Ziphiidae (the beaked whales) nothing has been previously reported on responses to either technique.