Sex of whale: How can you tell male from female whales?? (fwd)

From: pita admininstrator (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 13:37:50 EDT


Subject: Re: How can you tell male from female whales??

Hi to you and your whale lover,

For many whale species the males and females are not very sexually dimorphic
so they look the same unless you see their genital slits on the ventral
side -- females have nipple slits, males don't. The difficulty in sexing
whales is one of the reasons why molecular DNA techniques are so useful --
you can sex a whale genetically. The third method for sexing is
behaviorally -- cows with calves close by or nursing tell you the adult is
female. Sometimes during courtship groups you'll see the males' penises
(normally they are inside their body cavity).

Cathy
-----Original Message-----
From: LeepCJ@aol.com <LeepCJ@aol.com>
To: schaeff@american.edu <schaeff@american.edu>; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
<pita@whale.wheelock.edu>
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2001 1:50 AM
Subject: How can you tell male from female whales??

Greetings:

My 2nd grade daughter chose whales for her research project & managed to
answer all the questions she identified except this one:

How can you tell male from female whales?

Thanks for helping my little marine mammal lover!

Carolyn Leep



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