Northern Bottlenose Whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus
Taxonomy Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetacea Hyperoodontidae Hyperoodon ampullatus
Description & Behavior
Northern bottlenose whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus (Forster, 1770), aka North Atlantic bottle-nosed whales and northern bottle-nosed whales, reach up to 9.8 m in length, averaging 6.7-7.6 m between 7-14 years, and weigh between 5,800-7,500 kg. Males are about 25% larger than females. Northern bottlenose whales live up to 37 years. These whales range in color from green-brown to gray with lighter gray-white markings on the body and lighter coloring on the lower part of the flanks and ventral surface.
They have a long, stout body and both sexes have large prominent melons that fade to yellow-white in older males. They have a short bottle-shaped beak with small short teeth located at the tip of the lower jaw in males. Females do not have teeth. They have a curved dorsal fin 30-38 cm in height, small flippers, and a notchless tail fluke. The dentition of the species is highly reduced, with males possessing one or occasionally two pairs of short teeth in the tip of the lower jaw.
World Range & Habitat
Northern bottlenose whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, can be found from the polar ice of the North Atlantic to Long Island Sound and to the Cape Verde Islands. They are commonly found in deep water over 1,000 m.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Northern bottlenose whales feed on squid, sea cucumbers, herring, cuttlefish, sea stars and other benthic invertebrates. Their feeding behavior is similar to sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, in that they make long, deep dives for up to 70 minutes from 80-800 m on average. The maximum recorded dive for this species is 1,453 m. They surface to breathe for about 10 minutes, often in the same location where their dive began.
Northern bottlenose whales, Hyperoodon ampullatus, mate during late spring/early summer. Females reach sexual maturity at 6-7 m in length or between 8-14 years, males at 7.3-7.6 m or between 7-9 years. Mating occurs in spring and early summer and calves are born from April to June following a year-long gestation period. Newborn calves measure about 3.5 m in length and are usually chocolate brown in color. Females nurse for about 1 year.
Conservation Status & Comments
References & Further Research
Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation (CCRC) - Beaked whales (+ videos)
Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood, and M.A. Webber, FAO species identification guide, Marine mammals of the world, Rome, FAO. 1993. 320 p. 587 figs.
Photos by Intelligent Ocean
Research Hyperoodon ampullatus » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
Feedback & Citation
Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!
Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life
Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences. Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation.
With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.