Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Life of Sperm Whale

Life of Sea | Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) | Sperm Whale gets its name from the milky-white semi-liquid waxy substance "spermaceti" found in its head. The name derives from the late Latin spermaceti (sperma is actually a loan word from Greek) meaning “'sperm of the whale” (sperm of the sea monster). The common name for the species is Spermaceti Whale. Sperm whales are found in many open oceans in both tropical and cool waters. Sperm whales live in all oceans of the world. They may be close to the edge of the ice in both hemispheres and are often seen along the equator, especially in the Pacific Ocean. These large whales have a life expectancy of more than 70 years.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Mammalia
Order:     Cetacea
Suborder:     Odontoceti
Family:     Physeteridae
Genus:     Physeter
Species:     P. macrocephalus

Sperm whales are usually dark. Sometimes the mouth is bright white, and some whales have white spots on the belly. Their flippers are paddle-shaped and small in comparison with the size of the body, and their tail fins are very triangular in shape. They have small dorsal fins that are low, thick, and usually rounded. The skin is usually dark gray to black, but occasionally light gray. Sperm whales have the largest head of an animal. The heads are often covered with circular scars that are created by the foothills of the giant squid that they hunt and eat.Sperm whales teeth are the same. The teeth in the upper jaw never erupt. The teeth in the long, thin lower jaw are conical and large. When the whale mouth is closed, the teeth fit into sockets in the maxilla. 

Sperm whales are carnivores. They mostly eat giant squid that live on the ocean floor at great depths. They also eat fish, squid, and skate. However, in 1998, off the coast of Indonesia, three sperm whales observed megamouth shark attacks. This is very rare. An adult Sperm whales can eat about a ton of food per day. Moreover, they are everywhere in the oceans of the world in deep waters. They dive deep to the giant squid to catch.

It is estimated that about 200,000 Sperm whales worldwide. They are considered an endangered species. These whales (and many other large whales) were over-hunted for many years. They hunt for their meat, oil, and other valuable parts of the body. Their populations are starting to recover. Since whale hunting has decreased in recent decades. Some scientists say that the waste of sperm whales to help oceans to absorb carbon dioxide. The Australian researchers that Sperm whales in the Southern Ocean, 50 tons of iron per year fluctuations. The waste encourages the growth of tiny marine plants (phytoplankton), which absorb carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis.

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