Creature Feature – Sato’s Beaked Whale
Sato’s beaked whale is a little-known species of beaked whale. Beaked whales are a family of cetaceans (infraorder of aquatic mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises). Only 3 or 4 of the 24 species are reasonably well-known, and these include Baird’s beaked whale, Cuvier’s beaked whale and the Northern bottlenose whale.
This species was only identified as a new species in 2019 after DNA analysis distinguished it from the Arnoux’s and the Baird’s beaked whale. As such, little is known about them.
Scientific Name: Berardius minimus
© Chika Sugita
Sato’s Beaked Whale Fact File
Size: The maximum length (at least for males) is thought to be 6.9m (22ft)
Distribution: The species’ distribution, based on genetic samples from stranding’s only, is believed to include the sea around Japan, the Russian Federation, and Alaska
Diet: It is likely that as with other beaked whales they may feed primarily on squid, although some smaller fish species and shrimp may also be taken
Behaviour: Very little is known about this species
IUCN Status: Near Threatened. Though very little is known about the ecology and populations of this species, the IUCN has assigned the classification Near Threatened based on its estimated low population numbers. Pollution, specifically noise and plastic, are thought to be among several key threats