Of Whales and Sharks and Giant Squid

Wolf H. Berger

in Ocean

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780520247789
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942547 | DOI:
Of Whales and Sharks and Giant Squid

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This chapter focuses on the large animals found in the sea. It describes their evolutionary history and patterns of behavior such as feeding, breeding, and migration. Cetaceans as a group (whales and dolphins) are the largest and the fastest swimming animals in the sea. Both toothed whales and those lacking teeth have enormously large representatives, but the largest are baleen whales. The largest of the toothed cetaceans is the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), while the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest among the baleen whales. The baleen whales, together with the giant sperm whale, are called great whales. Other vertebrate groups also have large animals: pinnipeds have elephant seals and the walrus; sharks and their kin include whale sharks; the great white, and manta rays; and bony fishes have swordfish and sturgeon. Among the mollusks, the giant squid is the largest.

Keywords: cetaceans; whales; dolphins; baleen whales; pinnipeds; sharks; manta rays; swordfish; sturgeon; giant squid

Chapter.  22026 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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