Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Ziphius cavirostris (G. Cuvier,1823)

Morphology and dimensions: The only bifid present in the Liguria Sea, measures from five to seven meters of length and can weigh until 5 tons. The baby is long approximately 2.5 m. In the head, the “melon” it is not clearly separated from the ”rostrum” and the lower jaw protrudes ahead compared with the upper one. It is provided with one relatively small and rear dorsal fin.

Coloration: Variable with sex and age, from light grey to brown. The head is white, mainly in adult males. Sometimes, the body surface appears covered by scratches and spots of oval shape.

Swim and breathing rhythm: It can remain in immersion for 40 minutes reaching remarkable depths. In surface, it swims rather slowly and its breath is hardly visible.

Feeding: It is a fish mostly “teutofago” (it eats squids above all). Only the adult males possess two big teeth situated at apex of the jaw.

Social behaviour: Generally observed isolated or in small groups (composed by 3-4 individuals), whose social structure is not known.

Vital cycle: Information in merit are rather insufficient; it seems however that the sexual maturity is reached when the length of the body exceeds five meters.

Recognition in sea: The position of the dorsal fin and the coloration are useful characters which helps the identification. It is a category whose sight frequency usually low; however, in the summer 1898, a discreet number of observations have been carried out which encourage a widening of the scientific search on its Biology in the waters of Liguria Sea.