Odontoceti(redirected from Odontocetes)
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(toothed whales), a suborder of aquatic mammals of the order Cetacea. The body of a toothed whale is 1.2–20 m long. In distinction to Mysticeti, it has from two to 240 teeth. There is one nasal opening at the top of the head. The lower jaws are shorter than the skull and are joined in front. Toothed whales orient themselves mainly by means of echolocation. The formation of the echolocation apparatus, with its system of air sacs, has caused skull asymmetry in toothed whales. They have highly developed hearing, and a sound signal and voice organ linked with the nasal passage. Toothed whales live in all seas and oceans. The suborder Odontoceti comprises four families: Physeteridae (two species: sperm whale and pygmy sperm whale), Platanistidae (four species), Ziphiidae (17 species), and Delphinidae (50 species). The waters of the USSR contain 23 species (belonging to 20 genera). Toothed whales reach sexual maturity between two and six years of age. Their food consists offish, cephalopod mollusks, and crustaceans. The most important for man are the sperm whale, bottle-nosed dolphin, common dolphin, harbor porpoise, white whale (beluga), killer whale, and blackfish. They are sought for industrial oil, spermaceti, and meat. The number of many species has sharply decreased, and some Odontoceti species have been placed under protection.
REFERENCESTomilin, A. G. Kitoobramye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye fanny morel SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
Zhizn’ ihivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
A. G. TOMLIN