KOMPAS.com – Sperm Whale is one type of whale that is said to have the largest teeth among other species.
Sperm whale which has the scientific name Physeter makrosephalus, has the widest distribution of habitats compared to all marine mammal species.
Sperm whales are found in all the deep oceans, from the equator to the edges of the ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Marine Mammal Researcher at the Oceanography Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Rr Sekar Mira CH SSi MApp Sc said, sperm whale actually classified as a kind of cosmopolitan.
The intended cosmopolitan species, namely marine animals or mammals, can generally be found globally, because of their wide distribution.
For this reason, the distribution of the sperm whale itself can also be found in several waters in Indonesia, including Banyuwangi.
Morphologically, this sperm whale is very distinctive with a large head and pectoral fins or very short sides when viewed from the proportions of its body.
Then, this large marine mammal has a distinctive tail shape that is triangular.
They are the only living cetaceans that have a single blowhole located asymmetrically on the left side of the crown of the head.
Sperm whales are mostly dark gray in color, although some species have white patches on their bellies.
Their heads are very large, which is about a third of their total body length.
The lower jaw of the sperm whale is narrow and the part of the jaw closest to the teeth is white.
The inside of the mouth is also bright white. There are between 20 and 26 large teeth on each side of the mandible. Meanwhile, the upper jaw rarely penetrates the gums.
Sperm whale fins are paddle-shaped and small in comparison to their body size.
In addition, sperm whales also have a small dorsal fin that is low, thick, and usually rounded.
Mira said the sperm whale does have an interesting uniqueness compared to several other types of marine mammals.
Like the type odontocety or other toothed marine mammals, sperm whales have one breathing hole.
“The distinctive thing is that the breath hole is not right in the middle, but leans more to the left (from the side of the whale’s body) with thickened edges, which look like monkey lips from a distance,” said Mira.
With this uniqueness, said Mira, if the survey in the field is usually what is often seen on the surface only when the whale is taking a breath, and if the researchers have seen the ‘mongket lips’ or triangular flukes, they can immediately believe what type it is.
In addition, researchers can also believe that it is a sperm whale just by looking at its breath.
With the condition of the sloping air hole on the left, the breath that is characteristic of sperm whales is usually also tilted and short.
“What’s unique is that sperm whales sleep in an upright position,” he said.
“Keep doing this deep diver (deep sea divers),” he added.
With its uniqueness as a deep sea diver, sperm whales have a very important role in flux activity or seawater mixing, which is usually called ‘whale pump’.
Activity whale pump This allows sperm whales to help mix nutrients in the water.
In addition, there is also a study which states that this sperm whale is unique because it contributes greatly to carbon sequestration.
Sperm whales can help the carbon sink process by 16.67 tons C/individual/year (Lavery et.al., 2010).
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