There are huge creatures that live in our oceans, which are called Sperm Whales, and have very special characteristics. We invite to join us to know all about them.
Their scientific name is Physeter macrocephalus, and they are considered as the largest specimen of the family of odontocetes or toothed whales. Here we will learn all about them.
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What is a Sperm Whale?
They are easily identified because they have a huge square head, with a rounded and very prominent forehead. They also have the largest brain of all the species that inhabit the planet. Another very peculiar characteristic of sperm whales, is their small dorsal fin located near the caudal fin; preceded by a series of knuckles along the spine.
These fins occupy 5 meters of extension in their body; which provides the power that it requires to submerge to great depths.
As for its length, the males reach a maximum of 18 meters and weigh up to 48 tons; while the females are much smaller, reaching a maximum of 11 meters with a maximum weight of approximately 14 tons.
How do sperm whales live and reproduce?
They form groups of approximately 20 individuals comprised of females and their offspring; curiously the males remain solitary. They also tend to change groups frequently. They only return to the equator for the breeding season.
Sperm whales are propelled by their posterior fin of 5 meters, which help them cross the ocean at about 40 km per hour. The females take care of their offspring in communities; staying close to them in tropical waters. According to specialists, there are more than 350,000 specimens of sperm whale populating our oceans, which is not a big amount; their existence has been diminished by the massive hunting of this species of mammals. ( see article whales reproduction; for more information about reproduction)
What do sperm whales eat?
The Sperm Whales submerge more than 1000 meters, looking for squids which are apparently their favorite dish, along with other species of fish, rays, octopus and sharks reaching almost a ton of them a day. To be able to do these deep dives, the Sperm Whales can hold their breath for 90 minutes. This action can be performed, thanks to their capacity to harden a fluid they possess in the head called Espermaceti; although this procedure is not known enough.
It is believed that this fluid hardens like a wax when cooled; helping the whale to modify their floating capacity, for submerging to great depths and returning to the surface with great ease.
How do sperm whales communicate?
This species of whales has the ability to emit vocalizations and clicks, also called echolocation. These sounds are employed to locate themselves when navigating and to communicate with each other. The vocalizations are emitted from their bony nostrils, through the phonic lips from a structure inside their head. Then the sound waves, move underwater until they hit an object and bounce back to the emitter, like a kind of radar; which detects position, shape and size of the object in question.
This method is also used as a mechanism to stun their preys, the colossal squid, intensifying the sound to facilitate their capture.
Watch this video to learn more about echolocation.
As a particular reference, we can mention the white or albino sperm whale, that became famous for a movie called Moby Dick (Mocha Dick).
It existed at the beginning of the 19th century.
We have presented you everything you should know about giant sperm whales
Much has also been said about the confrontations of a sperm whale vs colossal squid; or a sperm whale vs giant squid. Awesome prehistoric animals, which have even become legends, among the inhabitants of cities or countries that say they have seen them…