|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. Narwhals and beluga whales are both high Arctic cetaceans and the only two members of the family Monodontidae.
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. 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.
The genetic identity of the narluga was confirmed in 2019 when the genome of the specimen was sequenced.
- 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.
- Brodie, Paul (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 200–203. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
- 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.
- Klein, Joanna (20 June 2019). "Meet the Narluga, Hybrid Son of a Narwhal Mom and a Beluga Whale Dad". The New York Times.