Narwhal x Beluga.jpg
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Superfamily: Delphinoidea
Family: Monodontidae
Hybrid: Delphinapterus D. leucas × Monodon M. monoceros

A narluga (portmanteau of narwhal + beluga) is a hybrid born from mating a female narwhal and a male beluga whale.[1] Narwhals and beluga whales are both high Arctic cetaceans and the only two members of the family Monodontidae.[2]


The existence of narlugas had been hypothesized for decades before its discovery. There are only 20 in existence, with only 7 of those in captivity.[3] In 1990, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen discovered a skull belonging to an unknown Monodontidae, with descriptive properties between a narwhal and a beluga. In particular, the characteristic narwhal 'horn' is anatomically a tooth; the unidentified specimen lacked a single narwhal tusk, but its teeth were spiralled, like the tusk of a narwhal.[4][3]

The genetic identity of the narluga was confirmed in 2019 when the genome of the specimen was sequenced.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kovrind, Mikkel; Eight Others. "Hybridization between two high Arctic cetaceans confirmed by genomic analysis". Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. ^ Brodie, Paul (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 200–203. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
  3. ^ a b Jason Bittel (2019-06-27) [2019-06-26]. "The 'narluga' is a strange hybrid. But it's far from alone". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 1330888409.
  4. ^ Klein, Joanna (20 June 2019). "Meet the Narluga, Hybrid Son of a Narwhal Mom and a Beluga Whale Dad". The New York Times.

External links[edit]