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Topic: Sperm Whales

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  Ocean Alliance - EDUCATION - Voyage of the Odyssey : Young Scientist
Sperm whales exhibit the greatest sexual dimorphism of any cetacean, with females averaging 10 m (35 ft) in length and a weight around 12 tonnes-1/3 to1/5 of the weight of their male counterparts (although size differences vary between oceans depending upon exploitation, when larger males in particular were targeted by whalers).
Sperm whales are masters of this discipline and may dive to depths of 2000 meters, where the hydrostatic pressure exceeds 200 atmospheres.
Sperm whales were easy prey for whalers as it was well known that members of a group would come to the aid of a companion in distress, so by injuring a single member of the pod, the whalers were often able to pick off the entire herd one by one.
www.oceanalliance.org /education/spermwhale_facts.html   (1963 words)

  Sperm Whale - MSN Encarta
Sperm whales probably split off from the ancestors of all present-day cetaceans about 20 million years ago, and they may be as closely related to the baleen whales as they are to other toothed whales and dolphins.
The bodies of sperm whales are laterally compressed, with a single blowhole on the left front of the head and a thick dorsal hump originating at the hindmost third of the body.
Sperm whales were hunted intensively by American whalers during the 1800s for the light oil of their heads, and by factory ships of several countries in the 1900s for their meat.
encarta.msn.com /encyclopedia_761579753/Sperm_Whale.html   (690 words)

The Mysticeti or "baleen or whalebone whales", often called "moustached", are named after their feeding apparatus; a series of transverse plates of comb-like baleen (made of similar material to that of the human fingernail) which descend from the roof of the mouth and serve to strain plankton and small fish.
The whale's flukes or tail fins are horizontal in the water and it uses its flippers to steer.
Of all the whales, the sperm is the champion breath-holder among mammals.
intothewild.tripod.com /whales.htm   (2016 words)

 Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) - Office of Protected Resources - NOAA Fisheries
Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal (on average 17 pounds (7.8 kg) in mature males), however, compared to their large body size, the brain is not exceptional in size.
Sperm whales tend to inhabit areas with a water depth of 1968 feet (600 m) or more, and are uncommon in waters less than 984 feet (300 m) deep.
Sperm whales have the potential to be harmed by ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear, although these are not as great of a threat to sperm whales as they are to more coastal cetaceans.
www.nmfs.noaa.gov /pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/spermwhale.htm   (2080 words)

 Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)
Sperm whales are worldwide in distribution and occur in all oceans, including Arctic and Antarctic waters, but are primarily found in temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Sperm whales are the most numerous of the great whales in the Gulf of Mexico and sightings near the Texas coast are relatively common.
Breeding behavior in sperm whales is similar to harem formation — a single, dominant male accompanies a group of females and defends the group against competing males.
www.nsrl.ttu.edu /tmot1/physmacr.htm   (615 words)

 Great Whales
Sperm whales, on which Herman Melville's Moby Dick was modelled, were hunted primarily for their oil, not only from their blubber but also from their spermaceti organ.
This organ, found in the sperm whale's prominent forehead and apparently used as a lens to focus the loud clicks and other sounds the whale makes, is filled with an oil that humans once used to lubricate fine watch works and other intricate devices.
These whales are distinguished by their huge heads (which allow them to take in large mouthfuls of water without having to expand their throats), their very long baleens, their slow swimming speeds, and their lack of prominent dorsal fins.
www.hsus.org /marine_mammals/a_closer_look_at_marine_mammals/great_whales.html   (614 words)

 Detailed Information about Sperm Whales   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Sperm whale populations are difficult to estimate, mostly due to their capacity to remain submerged for long periods.
Sperm whale herds appear to be organized on a "harem" system similar to elephants where a solitary bull (male) sperm whale joins a school of 10-40 adult females plus their calves, and juveniles (of both sexes) for the length of a breeding season.
Sperm whales die of natural causes, have been known to mass strand, and were the focus of a commercial hunt in the 18th and 19th centuries.
nmml.afsc.noaa.gov /education/cetaceans/sperm2.htm   (688 words)

Sperm whales produce ambergris, a dark, waxy substance (related to cholesterol) that is produced in the lower intestines, and is sometimes found containing squid beaks.
Sperm whales also stick their tail out of the water into the air, swing it around, and then slap it on the water's surface; this is called lobtailing.
Sperm whales use echolocation to catch their prey in the dark oceanic depths.
www.enchantedlearning.com /subjects/whales/species/Spermwhale.shtml   (1253 words)

 Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus)   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Sperm whales have huge heads (40% of the body length) and possess the largest brain of any creature that has ever lived on Earth.
The sperm whale was the focus of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Sperm whales are very difficult to study because they spend most of their time in open water, away from coastlines.
nmml.afsc.noaa.gov /education/cetaceans/sperm1.htm   (168 words)

 Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale Research
The animal of primary concern was identified as the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).
Approximately 50 photographs of sperm whale tails were shot and 40 samples of whale tissue collected for DNA analyses.
Each whale has a distinctive tail shape with scars and notches that allow individuals to be catalogued and identified by matches of fluke photographs.
www.gomr.mms.gov /homepg/regulate/environ/marmam/sperm_research.html   (1544 words)

 Sperm Whales - info and games
Partly due to Melville, the Sperm whale is commonly associated with the mythological Leviathan of Biblical lore.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brain of the Sperm whale is the largest and heaviest known of any modern or extinct animal (weighing on average 7 kg (15 lb) in a grown male).
Sperm whales are prodigious feeders and eat around 3% of their body weight per day.
www.sheppardsoftware.com /content/animals/animals/mammals/whale_spermwhale.htm   (1436 words)

Whales have nostrils, called blowholes, which open on the top of the head so that the whale can breathe air out and rapidly suck fresh air in without stopping swimming.
It is estimated that whaling has reduced the total world population to less than 10 000, from a pre-whaling figure of 300 000.
Sperm whales probably dive deeper than any other whale - 900 m or more - and find their food in the lower areas of the ocean.
www.botany.uwc.ac.za /Envfacts/facts/whales.htm   (1025 words)

  SEASWAP: Sperm Whales
Sperm whales are among the deepest diving cetaceans, and are found in all oceans of the world.
Sperm whales use their highly developed echolocation ability to locate food and to navigate, making nearly constant clicking sounds that pulse through the water.
Sperm whales are still fairly numerous, but selective killing of the larger breeding-age males over many years upset the male-to-female ratio, and the birth rate has seriously declined in some populations.
www.seaswap.info /background/spermwhales.html   (1372 words)

 Sperm whales use engines as 'dinner bells' - Boston.com
Sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska are likely using the sounds of fishing boat engines as underwater dinner bells to hone in on longlines hung with valuable sablefish, scientists said.
Scientists found the sperm whales tend to feed on longlines in the late spring through summer, during the height of the sablefish season.
Sperm whales in the gulf have been plucking small amounts of sablefish off the 1-3 mile longlines for at least two decades, sometimes leaving lips and or partly chewed bodies dangling from the hooks.
www.boston.com /news/science/articles/2006/02/09/sperm_whales_use_engines_as_dinner_bells   (771 words)

 Access NOAA - New Orleans Jazz, Riverboats, Jambalaya.. & Sperm Whales?
Sperm whales have teeth only on their lower jaws, and unlike humans all of their teeth are the same shape.
Sperm whales can be identified by distinct marks on the trailing edge of their tails, or flukes.
This sperm whale was curious enough to approach the boat, a rare move for a mature sperm whale.
www.accessnoaa.noaa.gov /mar0602/whales.html   (879 words)

 Sperm Whale Resources
The Sperm Whale is found in all oceans of the world, and, although well-known in the Mediterranean, rarely enters semi-enclosed or shallow seas.
The Sperm Whale is the largest of all the toothed whales, with an enormous head almost 35% of it's total body length.
The sperm whale is the largest of toothed whales, with an especially huge head, and the largest animal considered a predator.
www.cdli.ca /CITE/whalesperm.htm   (684 words)

 Sperm whales - The deep diving capabilities of sperm whales - Dr. Galapagos
Sperm whales apparantly have the biggest brain (9 kg or 20 pounds) of any animal that has every lived on this planet (what they are doing with all that brain, no one is sure).
Sperm whales carry in their great huge heads the world's largest natural sound producing organ (unfortunately for them this organ is full of a fat called spermaceti that was once very popular amongst humans for making a high grade oil).
Sperm whale calves may start to take solid food when they are a year old, but they continue to nurse until they are at least five years old.
www.ftexploring.com /askdrg/askdrgalapagos2.html   (2420 words)

 WWF | Whales and Dolphins | Sperm Whales
Sperm whales can dive more than 3,000 feet -- about two-thirds of a mile -- and find much of their food (mostly squid) near the ocean floor.
Sperm whales were not hunted for their meat, which was considered unpalatable, but for two commercially valuable products: ambergris and spermaceti.
Sperm whales are even more difficult to study than other great whales because they remain underwater for longer periods and are often found in much larger groups.
www.worldwildlife.org /cetaceans/subspecies/subspecies_sw.cfm   (377 words)

 STW - Sperm Whale
The dead whales, in many cases, were found with cable wrapped around their lower jaw, indicating they were swimming with their lower jaw open while trolling for food.
The head of one sperm whale could yield 2,000 gallons of oil which was used to illuminate 19th century homes.
Factory whaling of sperm whales was discontinued in 1979, but they are still hunted from shore stations in various countries.
www.savethewhales.org /sperm.html   (645 words)

 Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)
The sperm whale has a single blowhole and its blows project forward and to the left (instead of straight up as in other whales.) The sperm whale is primarily a dark, brownish gray with white patches around its mouth and with a lighter gray ventral
The sperm whale is the deepest of the whale divers and can dive to depths of 3300 feet and stay down for over an hour.
The basic social group of the sperm whale is a pod of 10 to 20 females and young.
www.thebigzoo.com /Animals/Sperm_Whale.asp   (375 words)

 Sperm Whale   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Sperm whales are predators and have huge conical-shaped teeth in its lower jaw that fit uniformly into corresponding sockets in its upper jaw.
Sperm whales are migratory, but have different migratory behavior based on the sex of the animal.
Although both male and female whales travel toward the poles in the spring and summer and return to more tropical regions in the fall, males tend to be found closer to the poles than the females and the young.
www.tmmsn.org /mmgulf/physeter.html   (747 words)

 Boots & Sabers - The blogging will continue until morale improves...
In what is believed to be a very rare event, a group of nine adult sperm whales were attacked by approximately 25 killer whales 60 miles off the central California coast, as witnessed and filmed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin-istration scientists on a research vessel this fall.
One adult sperm whale was killed and eaten with several others sustaining life-threatening wounds during the attack that lasted more than five hours.
The sperm whales were seen to line up in two parallel ranks, all facing the same direction.
www.bootsandsabers.com /index.php/weblog/comments_w_sidebars/pps_of_killer_whales_attacks_pod_of_sperm_whales   (401 words)

 Sperm Whales - Wildlife of Antarctica - Antarctic Connection
Sperm whales are the world's deepest diving mammal, able to reach depths of up to one mile.
Despite their importance to the whaling industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Sperm whale populations remain quite healthy, especially in the southern oceans.
Sperm whales have no dorsal fin but two-thirds of the way down the back there is a marked dorsal hump, followed by a series of distinctive knuckles reaching to the broad, triangular and deeply notched tail flukes.
www.antarcticconnection.com /antarctic/wildlife/whales/sperm.shtml   (571 words)

 Sperm whales steal black cod from hooks
What Straley and her partners have found after one season suggests that male sperm whales may patrol the edge of the continental shelf, where the water is 1,200 to 3,000 feet deep.
Sperm whales are the largest toothed cetaceans, reaching more than 35 tons and 50 feet in length.
Over the past few decades, some of the gulf sperm whales apparently realized that fishermen were bringing this deep food source to the surface, and learned to remove a 20- to 30-inch fish from hooks.
seattlepi.nwsource.com /local/158986_whales02.html   (842 words)

 MILSTEIN HALL OF OCEAN LIFE | American Museum of Natural History
On their skin, sperm whales often bear circular scars that match the suckers on a giant squid's tentacles—indicating that it isn't always easy for the whale to get a meal.
Scientists know that sperm whales prey upon the giant squid, but the squid's diet is unknown—the stomachs of most specimens are empty.
Between meals, sperm whales gather in social groups—females with young whales, and mature males in "bachelor pods." Only older bull males tend to be solitary.
www.amnh.org /exhibitions/permanent/ocean/01_dioramas/n_spermwhale.php   (780 words)

 Sperm Whales, western North Atlantic
The most distinct of all the whales and dolphins, both evolutionarily and in its biology, the sperm whale seems to have excluded competitors and achieved a domination of its habitat.
But a sperm whale is more than a magnificently-designed eater of squid, it is a part of a rich society, of which we understand just a little.
Whaling did affect sperm whales, enormously, reducing populations and destroying societies, and the animals are now the subject of a range of new threats ranging from noise pollution to chemical pollution to overenthusiastic whalewatching, in addition to renewed whaling efforts of the Japanese.
www.wdcs.org /dan/publishing.nsf/allweb/A72F02D3EA6168B98025703F003E168E   (559 words)

 Sperm Whale | Cetacean Fact Sheet | American Cetacean Society
Unique in appearance, the sperm whale seems to have social characteristics that, to date, also appear to be unique among whales.
The sperm whale's head houses a large reservoir containing spermaceti, a clear liquid oil that hardens to a waxlike consistency when cold, and has long been prized by whalers.
Sperm whales were killed in two massive hunts, the Moby Dick whalers who worked mainly between 1740-1880, and the modern whalers whose operations peaked in 1964, when 29,255 were killed.
www.acsonline.org /factpack/spermwhl.htm   (993 words)

 CNN.com - Giant sperm whales pluck cod from fishing lines - Feb. 3, 2004
Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal and some in the Gulf of Alaska are proving it at mealtimes: letting humans do all the work.
Sperm whales find prey with their extraordinary hearing, able to perceive their environment with echoed clicks and other sounds.
Straley and her partners have found after one season suggests that male sperm whales may patrol the edge of the continental shelf, where the water is 1,200 to 3,000 feet deep, and wait for fishing boats.
www.cnn.com /2004/TECH/science/02/03/wily.whales.ap/index.html   (499 words)

 Sea and Sky: Sperm Whale
The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, which includes other members such as the dolphin and killer whale.
Sperm whales get their name from the oily fat, known as spermaceti, which is contained in their large heads.
We know this because many dead whales are found to have squid in their stomach, and many bear the scars of the giant squid's powerful tentacles.
www.seasky.org /monsters/sea7a1c.html   (130 words)

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