sperm whales

From: Phil Clapham (pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu)
Date: Sun Sep 08 2002 - 13:43:26 EDT

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    > hello my name is karla berntsson and i have some questions about sperm
    > whales ( genrally in new zealand )..........
    >
    > 1. wats its distribution - in the past and present.
    Deep ocean waters. Sometimes sperm whales come close to land when the
    continental shelf is nearby. But they're very deep divers, and they're
    found all over the world. in New Zealand they're commonly found in Cook
    Strait.
    > 2. the numbers - how many together or the density (number per unit
    > area).
    No one knows. Sperm whales are very difficult to study, so couunting is
    very difficult. The guess is a couple of million worldwide, but who
    knows? They were hunted in huge numbers - over 400,000 were killed in the
    Southern Hemisphere alone in the 20th century, and many more than that in
    the historical whaling days.
    > 3. a description of its prefered habitat. - type of vegetation and
    > physical conditions (eg.soil type, temperature, rainfall, wind, etc).
    Soil type? Sperm, whales? Hello!
    Preferred habitat is deep water. males travel to polar waters and return
    to the tropics for mating. Females and juvenliles stay in warm water in
    low latitudes.
    > 4. where it fits in the food chain - i.e. name its food, its predators
    > ( any parasites?).
    Only predator is killer whales. Sperm whales feed mostly on deep-sea squid.

    > 5. its reproduction - how often. how many offspring, any special
    > conditions needed like finding a suitable nesting site, any special
    > male or female behaviours - like dancing. any special stages in its
    > life cycle.
    Every few years, single offspring. Females and calves (and juveniles)
    travel in sometimes large groups. Males probably dont mate until they're
    physically mature (20 years or more).
    > 6. the adaptions - it has for survival ( its biology).
    > structural - body shape and size, for movement, sense organs,
    > structures fro getting food. physiological - colour, production of
    > poisons.
    > behavioural - nocturnal or diurnal, trapping food or escaping
    > predators.
    OK, you need to go to the library now! I can't do ALL your work for you!
    (Do a Web search under "sperm whale", or look in one of the many books on
    whales).>
    > karla berntsson



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