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Narwhal


Scientific Name:
Monodon monoceros
Length:
4.0 - 5.0 m (13.1 - 16.4 ft)
Weight:
750 - 1600 kg (1650 - 3530 lbs)
Status:
edangered
Prey:
Large fish (including turbot, cod), squid and shrimp

Physical characteristics

They are of a mottled white color with a darker head and a dark stripe that runs down the back. The males have a large tusk that can measure up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length. The tusk is a canine tooth (most commonly the left one of the upper jaw) that projects through the lip and forms a left-handed spiral.

Behavioral characterization

They break through the ice with their tusk.

Distribution

Arctic Ocean

Population size

80,000

Predators

Killer whales, Greenland sharks and polar bears.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

They are known to follow the distribution of the pack ice.

Social system/Group size

Most commonly seen in groups of 2 - 10, but they may occasionally form larger groups of up to hundreds.

Major threats

They are traditionally hunted by mostly natives, but also for their tusks. Climate change and pollution are other known threats to the Narwhal.

Research efforts

N/A

Fun fact

They are also known as moon whale, polar whale or unicorn whale.