The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
Strap-toothed Whale Mesoplodon layardii

Strap-toothed Whale Mesoplodon layardii


  • head


  • tail


The Strap-toothed whale in the photographs on this webpage is a female stranded in the Falkland Islands (West Falklands) in 2004.

The Strap-toothed whale, in common with other beaked whales has only two well developed teeth, one on each side of the lower jaw, but in the male Strap-toothed these grow up and over the upper beak sometimes to over 30cm. The mouth is almost clamped shut with such a small gape that they can only eat slender squid which they suck in; this applies particularly to adult males.  The teeth are probably used for fighting other Strap-toothed whales. Females and immatures have no visible teeth.
Males grow up to 5.9m and females up to 6.2m. These whales are spindle-shaped with a small head.   The dorsal fin is small and falcate and set about two thirds along the back. Flippers are small and narrow. They are dark grey/ black with a lighter belly and lighter area around the face. At least half of the beak and throat are white. The front half of the body is light grey like it is wearing a cape.
Strap-toothed whales inhabit deep waters, and feed almost exclusively on squid.  Occasionally one strands on the Falklands.

The Falkland Islands Marine Mammals Ordinance 1992 protects all marine mammals in all waters, from the coast to the edge of the economic exclusion zone.





Sources include: Sea Mammals of the World-Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Steware, Phillip J Clapham, James A Powell,Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. Wikipedia, Falklands Conservation, A Field Guide to the Wildlife of The Falkland Islands and South Georgia - Ian J Strange
Photographic credits: Biffo Tuson 2004
Photographs and Images Copyright: The images on this site have been bought under licence or have been used with the permission of their owners. They may not be copied or downloaded in any form without their owner's consent.