National Geographic : 1940 Jan
WHALES, GIANTS OF THE SEA of both hemispheres, but little is known of them (Plate X). They apparently spend their lives far from shores frequented by man. These whales feed principally on squids, other cuttle fish, and occasionally fish. Beaked Whales of this genus seldom exceed 20 feet. All have two anteriorly converging grooves that form a A on the throat, not more than one visible tooth in each lower jaw, and a dorsal fin placed considerably behind the middle of the animal's length. Ten kinds of Beaked Whales have been recognized. One of the rarer species is True's Beaked Whale. It is seldom more than 17 feet long. and there is a single tooth at the very tip of each lower jaw, a character this species shares with the New Zealand Beaked Whale (M. hectori) and Longman's Beaked Whale (M. pacificus). The body is usually slaty black above and lighter beneath. Close of kin to True's Beaked Whale are four rare types: Baird's (Berardius bairdii); Sowerby's (Mesoplodon bidens); Gervais' (Mesoplodon europaeus); and Blainville's (Mesoplodon densirostris). Cuvier's Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris) Few whales are such wanderers as the Goose beaked, or Cuvier's Beaked Whale, as it is more often called, and yet it rarely has been seen alive by naturalists (Plate X). It has been re corded on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, off Sweden and Rhode Island, south in the Medi terranean Sea. and off South Africa and Argen tina. In the Pacific Ocean it ranges from the Commander Islands and Alaska south to New Zealand and Tasmania, and also on the coast of India. Goose-beaked Whales attain a length of at least 28 feet. Males have a single tooth at the end of each lower jaw, which projects an inch or more beyond the gum. The thickset body has a strongly marked medial keel ex tending from dorsal fin to tail; the caudal flukes are not separated by a distinct notch. The color pattern of this whale is especially variable. An 18-foot male from Ireland and a 19-foot female from New Zealand had the head, the neck, and the back in front of the dorsal fin colored a creamy white, the re mainder of the body being black. Other fe males were purplish black above, spotted or brown on the sides, and white below. At the mating season the males apparently not only fight among themselves but attack the females and half-grown young. Cuvier's Beaked Whale depends to a considerable extent on cuttlefish for food. Schools of 30 to 40 travel in rather close formation, swimming and diving more or less in unison. After remaining at or near the surface for about 10 minutes spouting, the school dives as if by command and remains below searching for food for in tervals up to half an hour or more. Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno rostratus) Few naturalists ever have had the opportu nity of examining the Rough-toothed Dolphin in the flesh, and information is based largely on skeletons (Plate XI). It is found in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas and the Gulf of Mexico, and it ranges in the Atlantic Ocean from the North Sea to South Africa. In the Pacific Ocean this whale has been re corded from places as far apart as Japan, Hawaii, and New Zealand. It has been iden tified also at Java in the Indian Ocean, the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and in the Red Sea. The Rough-toothed Dolphin is readily recog nized by its slender beak, which is compressed from side to side and not flattened above. The beak is not distinctly marked off by a cross groove from the receding forehead. Un like other dolphins, the crowns of the 20 to 27 teeth on each side in each jaw are not smooth, but are roughened by fine vertical wrinkles. So far as known, this dolphin never exceeds seven or eight feet in length. Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps) Strange in structure, with its habits practi cally unknown, the Pygmy Sperm Whale seem ingly shuns the usual haunts of the larger whales (Plate XI). No naturalist has yet ob served one at sea. They range as far south as Tasmania, Peru, and South Africa, and north to Japan, Baja California, and in the Atlantic to Nova Scotia and the Netherlands. This diminutive relative of the huge Sperm Whale (Plate I) grows to a length of only 9 to 13 feet. The Pygmy is black above and light gray or grayish white beneath. It has a bluntly pointed snout, which projects beyond the lower jaw, a spermaceti organ, and a small, narrow, pinkish mouth. There are 14 or 15 slender, curved, and acutely pointed teeth in each lower jaw. Like their larger relatives, Pygmy Sperm Whales live considerably on cuttlefish. Blackfish, or Pilot Whale (Globicephala ventricosa) Blackfish migrate about in large schools from southern Greenland. the Faeroe Islands, and the coast of Norway to the Cape of Good Hope and the Kerguelen Islands, and in the Pacific Ocean from Japan south to New Zealand and Tasmania and east to Peru (Plate XII). Schools appear at irregular intervals along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Among fisherfolk this animal is generally called "Blackfish" because of its black color.