Subject: Female Sperm Whales

Lindsay J Porter (H9390327@hkucc.hku.hk)
Sun, 22 Jun 1997 12:43:54 +0800

>I would like to know how many ribs and how many teeth can be found in an
>adult female sperm whale.  Can you answer these two questions and refer
>me to anyone or to a publication that might give me the most
>comprehensive information on the females of the species?
>Thank you.
>Lisa Loft-Williams
>

Dear Lisa,
Sperm Whale - Physeter catadon
adult male and females can be distinguished by size- the male being
significantly larger - and the presence of calluses on the dorsal hump
(males never have them).  There is no dference rcorded in teh number of
teeth between males and females - with adults having 18-25 pairs of
functional teeth on the lower jaw only.  I was unable to find a quick
reference for the number of ribs a female might have - but am listing below
some references for sperm whale studies and a few contacts of people I know
to be working on the species.

>Beale, T. The Natural History of the Sperm Whale. London, 1839. 
(first comprehensive review)
>     Beale was a whaling-ship surgeon, and the information for this book
was gathered on his voyages. 
>
>
>Berzin, A. A. The Sperm Whale. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific
Translations, 1972. 
>
A usuful site is the following - which describes a Sperm Whale project - and
has picture and information on the erconstruction of a sperm whale skeleton.
I do not personnlay know of the research conducted by the organisation - but
the website sems informative
>http://www.alaska.net/~pratt/

Research on sperm whales is popular in Europe - several contacts
specifically for sperm whale research/ watching are 

Gran Canaria
Michel Andre University of Las Palmas
MAndre@cmmc.ext.ulpgc.es

Azores
Serge Viallelle
fax 04 - 74718219

European Conservation
Petra Deimer
fax 02- 54551619

A comprehensive work on Sperm whales of the India Ocean was completed as
PhD thesis by Jonathan Gordon.  Dr Gordon now runs a research yacht which
focuses on acoustics - particularly sperm whales.  The website for this is 
http://www.ifaw.org/pic.htm

Dr Whitehead of Dalhousie University (who completed his doctorate with Dr
Gordon) alos continues to work on sperm whales and I have included some of
his references that may be relevant below.


Indications of density-dependent effects from comparisons of sperm whale
populations.    KAHN-B; WHITEHEAD-H; DILLON-M 
          Biol. Dep., Dalhousie Univ., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Can. B3H 4J1 
 MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES 93(1-2): 1-7.  1993 
     
Evaluation of a method for determining the length of sperm whales (Physeter
catodon) from their vocalizations. 
GORDON-J-C-D
JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY (LONDON) 224(2): 301-314 
 1991 

Distribution and behaviour of male sperm whales on the Scotian Shelf, Canada. 
WHITEHEAD-H; BRENNAN-S; GROVER-D 
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY 70(5): 912-918 
1992 

Assessing the stock identity of sperm whales in the eastern equatorial Pacific. 
Dufault-S; Whitehead-H 
Report of the International Whaling Commission 0(43): 469-475 
1993 

Variations in the feeding success and behaviour of Galapagos sperm whales
(Physeter macrocephalus) as they relate to oceanographic conditions. 
Smith-S-C; Whitehead-H 
Canadian Journal of Zoology 71(10): 1991-1996 
1993 

Territoriality and the evolution of character displacement and sexual
dimorphism. 
Whitehead-H; Walde-S-J 
Ethology Ecology & Evolution 5(3): 303-318 
1993 

Temporal and geographic variation in the social structure of female sperm
whales. 
WHITEHEAD-H; KAHN-B 
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY 70(12): 2145-2149 
1992 

Population structure of female and immature sperm whales (Physeter
macrocephalus) off the Galapagos Islands.
WHITEHEAD-H; WATERS-S; LYRHOLM-T 
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES 49(1): 78-86     1992 

Patterns of visually observable behaviour and vocalizations in groups of
female sperm whales. 
WHITEHEAD-H; WEILGART-L 
BEHAVIOUR 118(3-4): 275-296. 
1991 

Hope this is of help
Please contact me again if you have any further queries.

Lindsay J Porter

  
email h9390327@hkucc.hku.hk
Dolphin Research Group
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong
Cape d'Aguilar
Shek O
Hong Kong