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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

Marine Mammals

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

Classification and Characteristics

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

order cetacea
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

cetacea characteristics
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

suborder mysticeti
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

the roqurals
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

the right whales
The Right Whales
  • Includes: Bowhead and right whales
  • Swim at the surface with their mouths open

Northern Right whale

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

mysticeti feeding types
Mysticeti Feeding Types

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

suborder odontoceti
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

sperm whale
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

killer whale
Killer Whale
  • Orcinus orca is common in cold water, worldwide
  • Two distinct groups of killer whales
    • Piscivores
    • Marine mammal carnivores

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

dolphins porpoises
Dolphins & Porpoises
  • Dolphins
    • Falcate dorsal fin
    • Conical teeth
    • Distinct beak
  • Porpoises
    • Triangular dorsal fin
    • Spade shaped teeth
    • Lack a beak

Order Cetacea & Sirenia

order sirenia
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

is it the rum or are you beautiful
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

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