Antarctica Wildlife

Toothed Whales

which toothed-whales can be found in antarctica?

Unlike baleen whales, toothed whales have only the one blowhole and, of course, teeth. There are 65 species of toothed whale including all dolphins and porpoises and they are smaller than their baleen cousins. Discover below the species of toothed whale you may encounter on your expedition to Antarctica.

Orca whale 

Also referred to as killer whales, orcas are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world's most powerful predators. They are immediately recognizable by their distinctive black-and-white coloring and are the intelligent, trainable stars of many aquarium shows. They hunt in deadly pods, family groups of up to 40 individuals and they feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches (ten centimeters) long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds. Though they often frequent cold, coastal waters, orcas can be found from the polar regions to the Equator.

Southern Bottlenose Whale 

Southern bottlenose whale are large beaked whales that reach 6-9 m in length. They have a stocky body shape and large, bulbous forehead that overhangs a short, dolphin-like beak. They live in groups of 1-25 and feed primarily on squid, but are also known to eat fish. When hunting at the surface near shore, it may consume pelicans and other birds, hitting the prey with its fluke before devouring it. They are able to dive for over an hour. They inhabit the South Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific Ocean and are found in open water beyond the continental shelf in water deeper than 1,000 m. 

Sperm Whale 

Sperm whales are easily recognized by their massive heads and prominent rounded foreheads. They have the largest brain of any creature known to have lived on Earth. They are known to dive as deep as 3,280 feet in search of squid to eat and must hold their breath for up to 90 minutes on such dives. They eat thousands of pounds of fish and squid—about one ton per day. Sperm whales are often spotted in pods of some 15 to 20 animals which include females and their young, while males may roam solo or move from group to group. 

Females and calves remain in tropical or subtropical waters all year long while males migrate to higher latitudes, alone or in groups, and head back towards the equator to breed.

Peale's Dolphin

A fairly robust dolphin with a short, rounded snout, Peale’s dolphin is greyish black above and mostly white below. A curved, light grey flank patch runs from below or ahead of the dorsal fin to the tail, while a second light grey thoracic patch runs from the eye to the middle of the body. Most feeding appears to occur in kelp beds, where small groups of around 5 to 30 individuals are thought to hunt squid, octopus, and sometimes shrimps. Larger groups have also been observed, and may hunt cooperatively in more open water, ‘herding’ larger shoals of fish. Peale’s dolphin occurs in open coastal waters over shallow continental shelves, as well as in bays, inlets, channels and around islands. Although recorded at depths of up to 300 m, the species prefers shallower coastal waters

Commerson's Dolphin

Commerson's dolphin can be found in shallow waters along the southernmost tip of South America and around the Kerguelen Islands in the Indian Ocean. They are characterized by their striking black and white patterns, stocky body shape, small and indistinct rostrum and their bold, outgoing behaviour. Being dolphins, they are quite active and can swim very quickly, usually around the surface of the water. Commerson's are active breachers, and may breach repeatedly in a short period of time. They may even surf, riding breakers close to shore or heavy swells out at sea and may engage in swimming upside-down or spinning while swimming. This dolphin species is believed to be very migrational, following fish in the winter time that are moving to warmer waters.

Dusky Dolphin

Dusky dolphins are a curious species; they favour bow riding and seem to enjoy contact with boats and people. They are extremely agile swimmers and are known for their acrobatics. They are medium sized dolphins with sloping faces with no dominant beak nose, dark gray on their backs and white on their bellies. They are found throughout the southern hemisphere, inhabit cool waters and prefer waters that are less than 650 feet deep. They often form groups of 6 to 15 individuals and also are known to form feeding aggregations of several hundred individuals. Off South America, prey found in the stomachs of dusky dolphins include horse mackerel, hake, and sardines. Stomach contents of dusky dolphins in New Zealand revealed a diet of Hoki and squids.

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