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Narwhal

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Narwhal
Narwhal-isolated.jpg
Scientific Classification
Scientific Name

Monodon monoceros

Pod Monodon monoceros.jpg
A group of Narwhals swimming together

The Narwhal or the Monodon monoceros (scientific name) is a type of whale, but it distinguishes between any other whales on the planet. This feature that makes it different from other whales on the Narwhal is called the tusk, which is a huge tooth that serves as a sensory organ and the tusk can grow up to ten feet too! Also unlike lots of whales the Narwhal lives in the cold icy waters around the Arctic. Another fun fact is that it can dive up to 8,000 feet under water! This is only a little bit of information about the Narwhal and I will go into detail about this wonderful animal in the next following sections. [2]

Body Design

The name Narwhal comes from the old Norse word nar which means corpse. This type of whale tends to live to the northern side of the earth, that is around Canada and Greenland. They grow to 12 to 20 feet long. Another whale that is about this long is about this long is the Beluga whale, which is a relative to the Narwhal whale. [3]

There is a very interesting feature on the male Narwhals, which is the spiraled tooth that sticks out of its head. The huge spiraled tooth can grow to be 10 feet long and it always grows because wear takes place on it and the Narwhal needs to replace the huge tooth. Although some people have different views of what the huge tooth is used for. Some think that it attracts mates, or that it is used as a weapon so the organism can protect itself. This tooth is actually a sensory organ which helps the organism detect changes in the water temperature and pressure.[3] Another interesting feature they have is a second tooth! This second tooth is located in the skull. This second tooth is much smaller that the first and is about 1 foot long. Also they differ from beluga whales in their skin color, which is a white and black mottled skin color. [3]

Life Cycle

Narwhals live up to be 35 to 55 years old. They usually breed in March-May, and have one or two offspring every year. The gestation period (the process of carrying or being carried in the womb between conception and birth) is about thirteen months long. When the female finally become sexually active they give birth at 4-7 years old, while the males can breed only at ages 8-9. When a newborn is born it is 5-6 feet long and they weigh 175-220 pounds! The males don’t have their huge tooth when they are born. Then 20 months after they are born the Narwhals leave their mother. [4]

Ecology

This a Polar Cod, which is a food of the Narwhal

The Narwhal lives mostly around the Atlantic sector in the Arctic. They live in other places as eastward to Greenland and in the eastern Russian Arctic. These Narwhals are not very popular in the eastern Russian Arctic, Alaska, and the eastern Canadian Arctic, but Narwhals still live there just not as much as in other places. The Narwhals usually migrate one time in a year when the main season changes, which is winter and summer. In the two months of summer the Narwhal spends its time in the Arctic ice-free bays and fjords, and in the winter along the continental slope where the deep ice covered waters are.[5]

The Narwhals like to live in the deeper and offshore waters. The Narwhal feeds in the deep waters, and it has a variety of different food that it eats. These foods include Fish-the Greenland Halibut and the Artic Cod and the Polar Cod, and it also eats Squid, and shrimp.[5]

Threats

A Killer Whale is a threat to the Narwhal

The Narwhal is a very interesting aquatic mammal, but they have lots of threats in their life too. There is one threat that is greater to them than the others. This threat is called climate change. This is because the temperature is rising slowly on earth and it is melting the icy waters that the Narwhals live in. Then because there is less ice in the waters, more ships come through where they live. Also hunting is a big one too because people want their skin and their huge tooth (the tusk on their head). The last threat to the Narwhals are other animals that include Killer Whales, Polar bears, and Walruses.[6]

Video

Things that Narwhals use there tusks for

References

  1. Linnaeus. Monodon monoceros wiki species. Web. last modified November 6, 2016.
  2. Unicorn of the Sea: Narwhal Facts worldwildlife. Web. January 18, 2017. last Assecced. Unknown Author.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Smith,P.A. Narwhal Animal fact guide. Web. August 24, 2014. last-modified
  4. life cycle Help Save The Narwhals. Web. accessed January 4, 2017. Unknown author.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jefferson. Monodon monoceros iucnredlist. Web. January 18, 2017. Last accessed
  6. Narwhal defenders. Web. January 18, 2017. Last accessed. Unknow Author.