Rare whale at Thorntons
A RARE dense-beaked whale has been found dead, washed up on Thornton’s Beach after reported stranded last Wednesday night.
The whale appears to be female and measured 4.3 metres long.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service received a report of the stranding, and Regional Director Great Barrier Reef Damien Head said the rangers attended the following morning.
‘‘There is no clear evidence of cause of death,’’ Mr Head said.
‘‘The beaked whale is not a common species for this region and the whale’s age cannot be determined until further tests are undertaken.’’
Queensland Museum will be collecting the carcass for its studies on this species
Queensland Museum Vertebrate Collection Manager Heather Janeztki said, ‘‘From photographs we’ve been able to identify the whale as a Densebeaked whale, or Blainsville’s beaked whale as it’s also known,’’ Ms Janetzki said.
‘‘All beaked whales are quite rare and this unfortunate incident presents an opportunity for the Queensland Museum to add a rare whole skeleton of this species to the State Collection to preserve as part of Queensland’s biodiversity record.
Ms Janetzki said they will be able to determine the whale is a female by its beak. ‘‘One of the unusual features of these beaked whales is their teeth, with the females having no teeth or only very few teeth which are embedded in the gums,’’ She said.
‘‘The males also have very few teeth and these often appear as tusk-like eruptions growing out of the snout.’’
WASHED UP: dead beaked whale on Thorntons Beach