Sperm Whale's chronicles

About

With this blog, I’ll try to take you inside Sperm whale’s habitats, behaviour and legends. I`ll explore their ecology to show you with the most dynamic way I can, how extreme these gigantic animals are.

Through pictures, videos, documentaries and scientific material, I’ll try to make you feel inside the sperm whales habitats.

But maybe you are asking yourself: “why sperm whales are extreme?”. Let me list you some quick facts about them.

  • Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) live for 60-70 years and in the open sea [1]. They can be found in all oceans, in waters deeper than 1 000 m that are not covered in ice [2]. Males of this species measure up to 18 m in length and 57 tons in weight [1], while females measure up to 11 m and 24 tons [1].
  • Sperm whales are the biggest toothed animals in the planet [1]. They have 20-26 pairs of teeth in their lower jaw [1]. The upper jaw doesn’t have teeth, but sockets where the lower jaw’s teeth fit into [1]. Each teeth weight, in average, 1kg [3].
  • Sperm whales are famous for their deep and long dives, down to 2 250 m [4] and 90 to 140 minutes long, deeper and longer than any other whale (with the possible exception of the bottlenoise whales) [1]. P. macrocephalus feed on medium-size and giant squids, octopuses, sharks, bony fishes and demersal rays [1] [5]. In these depths, there are no light and the animals need an adaptation to hunt: echolocation [5]. This adaptation works as a radar, what makes possible ‘to see’ in the dark.
  • In the past, macrocephalus were hunted because of the spermaceti oil [2], considered one of the finest lubricant oil of the planet. Today, these odontoceti are not a major targeted species for whaling industries anymore, but the impacts of a historical whaling and poor estimatives compromise a good model of sperm whale population structure [2]. Models based on a global trend and population reduction of P. macrocephalus considered the species vulnerable, according to IUCN red list [2].
  • Sperm whales are famous because of the Moby-Dick novel, written by Herman Melville [6], which describes a revenge of a fisherman over a massive albino sperm whale named ‘Moby-Dick’, which destroyed his boat and ate half of his crew.

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