A Giant Fish

The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale (odontocete) having the largest brain of any animal. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal’s head. The sperm whale is the only living member of genus Physeter. The now outdated synonym Physeter catodon refers to the same species. It is one of three extant species in the sperm whale superfamily, along with the pygmy sperm whale and dwarf sperm whale.

A mature male can grow to 20.5 metres (67 ft) long. It is the largest living toothed animal. For large males, the head can represent up to one-third of the animal’s length. It has a cosmopolitan distribution across the oceans. The species feeds primarily on squid but to some extent on fish, diving as deep as 3 kilometres (9,800 ft), which makes it the deepest diving mammal. Its diet includes giant squid and colossal squid. The sperm whale’s clicking vocalization is the loudest sound produced by any animal. The clicking is used for sonar and may also be used for other purposes.[3] These whales live in groups called social units. Units of females and their young live separately from sexually mature males. The females cooperate to protect and nursetheir young. Females give birth every three to six years, and care for the calves for more than a decade. The sperm whale has few natural predators, since few are strong enough to successfully attack a healthy adult; orcas attack units and are capable of killing the calves. The sperm whale can live for more than 70 years.

Historically, the sperm whale was also known as the common cachalot; “cachalot” is derived from an archaic French word for “tooth”. Over most of the period from the early 18th century until the late 20th century, the sperm whale was hunted to obtain spermaceti and other products, such as sperm oil and ambergris. Spermaceti found many important uses, such as candlessoapcosmetics and machine oil. Due to its size, the sperm whale could sometimes defend itself effectively against whalers. In the most famous example, a sperm whale attacked and sank the American whaleship Essex in 1820. As a result of whaling, the sperm whale is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.
For more information click the source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sperm_whale
(Click Image for the Source)

(Click Image for the Source)
(Click Image for the Source)
(The Image is copied from the National Geographic) 
Sperm whales’ heads are filled with a mysterious substance called spermaceti. Scientists have yet to understand its function, but believe it may help the animal regulate its buoyancy.

Sperm whales are easily recognized by their massive heads and prominent rounded foreheads. They have the largest brain of any creature known to have lived on Earth. Their heads also hold large quantities of a substance called spermaceti. Whalers once believed that the oily fluid was sperm, but scientists still do not understand the function of spermaceti. One common theory is that the fluid—which hardens to wax when cold—helps the whale alter its buoyancy so it can dive deep and rise again. Sperm whales are known to dive as deep as 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) in search of squid to eat. These giant mammals must hold their breath for up to 90 minutes on such dives.
These toothed whales eat thousands of pounds of fish and squid—about one ton (907 kg) per day.
Sperm whales are often spotted in groups (called pods) of some 15 to 20 animals. Pods include females and their young, while males may roam solo or move from group to group. Females and calves remain in tropical or subtropical waters all year long, and apparently practice communal childcare. Males migrate to higher latitudes, alone or in groups, and head back towards the equator to breed. Driven by their tale fluke, approximately 16 feet (5 meters) from tip to tip, they can cruise the oceans at around 23 miles (37 kilometers) per hour.
These popular leviathans are vocal and emit a series of “clangs” that may be used for communication or for echolocation. Animals that use echolocation emit sounds that travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back to their senders—revealing the location, size, and shape of their target.
Sperm whales were mainstays of whaling’s 18th and 19th century heyday. A mythical albino sperm whale was immortalized in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, though Ahab’s nemesis was apparently based on a real animal whalers called Mocha Dick. The animals were targeted for oil and ambergris, a substance that forms around squid beaks in a whale’s stomach. Ambergris was (and remains) a very valuable substance once used in perfumes.
Despite large population drops due to whaling, sperm whales are still fairly numerous. Click for more information from National National Geographic


One thought on “A Giant Fish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s