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OK, here they are! These beaks are from the sperm whale stranded on Mahia Peninsula. There were seven lower beaks from Mesonychoteuthis and two upper and one lower from Architeuthis. You can see from the comparative photos that Meso (on left) leaves poor ol' Archi (on right) for dead.
Here's a little info we've been putting together on Mesonychoteuthis in prep for next week's news (keep your eyes peeled!):
Number of adult specimens known (reported): 6 (all but one recovered from sperm whale stomachs). Juveniles are not uncommon from surface waters to ~ 1000 m depth.
This species was first described on the basis of two arm crowns recovered from sperm whale stomach contents (Robson, 1925).
Estimated mantle length: 2-4m; total length to 30 feet.
Based on a combination of beak dimension, and both factory ship and photographic observations, Clarke (1986: 202) suggests Mesonychoteuthis attains a mantle length in excess of 2 m, possibly exceeding 4 m.
The occurrence of Mesonychoteuthis beaks in stomachs of female and small male sperm whales is intriguing, as these predators normally occur north of 40°S, while the squid are primarily reported from south of 40°S. Therefore Mesonychoteuthis, presently known from Antarctic waters, could extend as far north as 40°S, with the Subtropical Convergence delimiting the species’ northern distribution (Clarke 1980).
The male sperm whale stranded on Mahia Peninsula 28/11/2002 was 13 metres (~ 40 feet) in length, and contained 7 lower Mesonychoteuthis beaks in its stomach. It had probably only recently migrated back from the Antarctic, and had likely made few migrations to the region in its life.
Clarke, M.R. 1980. Cephalpoda in the diet of sperm whales of the southern hemisphere and their bearing on sperm whale biology. Discovery Reports 37: 1–324.
Clarke, M.R. (Ed.) 1986. A handbook for the identification of cephalopod beaks. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 273 pp.
Robson, G.C. 1925. On Mesonychoteuthis, a new genus of Oegopsid. Cephalopoda. Annual Magazine of Natural History 9(16): 272-277.
Oh, and here's a bonus shot of your favorite Teuthologist hard at work.
(Eds note (SOS): watch for (Author's note (Tfisch)) more progressive wrinkles and hair either fall out or go greyer over the coming 4 years ....... that's probably how long it will take Tintenfisch to finish her degree if I keep distracting her from her hard work by making silly amends to her TONMO posts! Sigh indeed)
I think the caption to this should be "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"
Funny, but the only other time I saw that gesture was in POKÉMON cartoons, when one Pokémon would diss another by pulling down one lower eyelid like that. Obviously, it is the Japanese version of giving someone "the finger". Is Steve-O' being rude here, or does he just have a piece of beak in his eye?
Actually it's the punchline of a joke and is supposed to be the equivalent of 'the finger' in Gorilla.
But as this is a family forum... we'll just say Steve-O was displaying his red-rimmed insomniac eyeballs to the world.
Doubling up on another post, but doing so because the whale in question is the specimen from which we'll 'soon' report the beaks.
We've just received notice that another sperm whale has stranded, and that samples will be on their way. Never a dull moment in New Zealand (anyone want to come and study here).
Of particular note on the attached 3 images (with permission to use granted to us by Debbie Freeman of the NZ Department of Conservation) is the extent of scar tissue on the animal's head. Because of the regularity of spacing and linear nature of many of the scars it has been suggested that they are the result of inter-male aggression (that the scars are caused by the aggressors teeth); however, not all of those scars are that regular. Is it possible that the talon-like hooks on the Mesonychoteuthis arms and tentacle clubs are responsible for making these scars? There are a few Architeuthis scars there too (the round ones), and this animal had certainly eaten two Architeuthis quite recently.
Yeah, those look like some serious battle scars. I can definitely see the sucker scars as well. In Whale 2 there are four parallel scars that almost make a "J"... the first three are almost evenly-spaced, but the fourth is a bit stray. Do they seem too apart for teeth marks?