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(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.
REFERENCESTomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.