Whale # 9 stomach content analysis

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
This specimen, 'Whale # 9" stranded on Whatipu Beach in 01 December 2004 (the animal with the worn teeth).



Like 'Whale's 1-6 and 8', as far as I know (to the best of my efforts), every squid beak in the stomach was retained (despite this the number of upper beaks exceeds that of the lowers). The identifications must be treated as provisional, but I don't expect too many changes (other than 'Octopoteuthis/Lepidoteuthis') and cranchiids.

If you like you can look at the squid composition of this whale, compare it to that of the previous lot, and try and make some sense out of the jigsaw (again based on what we know of the New Zealand and adjacent water mass squid faunas). I've not provided lower rostral lengths for the beaks, as I've yet to measure them.

Identifications are based on lower beaks.

Here goes:
Whale # 9, male, ~ 15m, stranded 01 December 2004, Whatipu Beach
Number of upper beaks: 964
Number of lower beaks: 880

Lower beak-determined squid composition in diet of Sperm Whale # 9
Architeuthis dux: 7
Pholidoteuthis boschmai: 1
Octopoteuthis/Lepidoteuthis spp. (LRL > 14mm): 16
Taningia danae: 16
Moroteuthis ingens: 28
Moroteuthis robsoni: 32
Histioteuthis cf. eltaninae: 517
Histioteuthis miranda: 138
Histioteuthis sp. A5 (sensu Clarke): 33
Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni: 2
Teuthowenia sp.: 51
Megalocranchia sp.: 8
Cranchiid sp. 1: 4
Chiroteuthis sp.: 1
Gonatus sp.: 17
Mastigoteuthis sp.: 5
Haliphron atlanticus: 4

Again, much more could be said (am I repeating myself?).
A rookie's laughable lack of common knowledge

I'm fourteen years old, so humor me.

My recent introduction to this website has me in a state of euphoria. Finally, being able to talk to people who are as interested in cephalopods as I am! Anywho, how exactly are squid beaks identified? I assume it is a relatively simple process, since so many beaks were identified. I wish to gain as much knowledge as I can about squid, so a reply would make my day. Or my week, for that matter.


Upvote 0
Re: A rookie's laughable lack of common knowledge

Squidman said:
Anywho, how exactly are squid beaks identified? I assume it is a relatively simple process, since so many beaks were identified.

Are you pulling my leg :nofeet: ; are you really 14 years old? Oooops, how rude of me; I should say first of all a big :welcome: .

Squidman (great handle), I've been meaning to get something online about squid beak identification for an eternity, but have been rather pressed for time. There are some truly enormous books out there that deal with squid beaks from stomachs of whales (mainly), but they are extremely expensive (if you could even find one for sale). Keep your eye out for anything written by Dr Malcolm Clarke (Discovery Reports & Beak Identification handbooks, to name a few). I'll put something a litle more basic online, that will get you started before you graduate to the real hard-core stuff, but this will be a couple of weeks away. In fact what will probably happen is I start a thread in the Physiology & Biology forum, include a few pics, get some text online (with the help of others), and eventually work this into an article.
Upvote 0


I did not draw this picture. it is called "Awakening Leviathan." It was brilliantly designed by Richard Sardinha. Give him the credit. Funny you should bring up art, though. I have been sketching squid(among other things) since I was three.
Upvote 0

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.