Marine mammals
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Marine Mammals. Order Cetacea & Sirenia Classification and Characteristics. Order Cetacea. Mysticeti (Baleen whales) Odontoceti (Toothed whales) Have made the most complete transition to aquatic life

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Marine Mammals

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

Classification and Characteristics

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Order Cetacea

  • Mysticeti (Baleen whales)

  • Odontoceti (Toothed whales)

  • Have made the most complete transition to aquatic life

    • Have considerable morphological and ecological variability, but all share similar characteristics

      • Convergent evolution – different spp. develop similar structures due to a similar lifestyle

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Cetacea Characteristics

  • Elongated telescoped skull

  • Nostrils are on top of the head instead of in front, forming a single or double blowhole

  • Have a pair of front flippers, but the rear limbs have disappeared

    • Flukes are used for propulsion

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Suborder Mysticeti

  • Toothless or baleen whales, 11 spp.

  • Filter feeders which use baleen

  • Posses symmetrical dorsal skull with 2 blow holes

  • Are the largest whales and the largest animals that ever lived on earth

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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The Roqurals

  • Includes: blue, fin, minke, and humpback

  • Feed by gulping large schools of krill or small fish

    • The lower part of the throat has grooves on the underside which distend when feeding

Blue Whale

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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The Right Whales

  • Includes: Bowhead and right whales

  • Swim at the surface with their mouths open

Northern Right whale

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Mysticeti Feeding Types

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Suborder Odontoceti

  • Includes: Sperm whales, narwhals, beaked whales, oceanic dolphins, true porpoises, and river dolphins

  • Have teeth, adapted for a diet of squid, fish and other marine mammals

  • Dorsally asymmetrical skull with a single blow hole

  • More variable morphologically and ecologically

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Sperm Whale

  • Largest of the toothed Whales on earth (Physeter catodon)

    • Eat squid, especially from great depths

    • Squid beaks and other undigestibles accumulate in the gut creating ambergris

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Killer Whale

  • Orcinus orca is common in cold water, worldwide

  • Two distinct groups of killer whales

    • Piscivores

    • Marine mammal carnivores

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Dolphins & Porpoises

  • Dolphins

    • Falcate dorsal fin

    • Conical teeth

    • Distinct beak

  • Porpoises

    • Triangular dorsal fin

    • Spade shaped teeth

    • Lack a beak

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Order Sirenia

  • Inhabit shallow water and feed strictly on plants

    • Herbivores - digestive tract is similar to horses and elephants

  • Use a prehensile upper lip to feed

  • Occupy tropical and subtropical waters

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

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Is it the Rum, or are you beautiful?

  • Have been exploited for their meat (tastes like veal) and oil- rich blubber

  • Reproduce slowly 1 calf ever 3 years

  • Only four species remain, all close to extinction

  • Dugongs – 10 ft. and 930 lb. (East Africa to some pacific islands)

  • Manatees – 15 ft and 1,320 lb.

Order Cetacea & Sirenia