narwhal


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narwhal

(när`wəl), a small arctic whalewhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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, Monodon monoceros. The males of the species, and an occasional female, bear a single, tightly spiraled tusk that measures up to 9 ft (2.7 m) in length. The tusk is an overgrown upper canine tooth, generally the one on the left, that emerges through the upper lip. Very rarely do both canines grow out in this manner; the narwhal is otherwise toothless. Although the functions of the tusk are unclear, it lacks enamel and is nerve-rich, and can sense changes in the environment. Males also appear to use it in sparing with other males.

The narwhal is short-headed and virtually snoutless. When mature, it is mottled gray in color. Like its close relative the belugabeluga
or white whale,
small, toothed northern whale, Delphinapterus leucas. The beluga may reach a length of 19 ft (5.8 m) and a weight of 4,400 lb (2,000 kg).
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, it lacks a dorsal fin, but it does have a long, low dorsal hump. The narwhal may reach a length of 20 ft (6.1 m), excluding the tusk. It is found in the Arctic and N Atlantic oceans, occasionally as far south as Britain; narwhals usually travel in groups of 15 to 20 animals. The diet of narwhals consists chiefly of cuttlefish and cod. Mating occurs in the summer, and after a gestation of 14 months the female gives birth to a single blue-gray calf measuring up to 5 ft (1.5 m). The calves are weaned at six months. Formerly killed for its tusk, which was believed to have magical properties (and was sold for centuries as a unicorn horn), the narwhal is now hunted by native peoples for food and for the tusk.

The narwhal is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Cetacea, family Monodontidae.

Bibliography

See studies by F. Bruemmer (1993), J. Rosing (1999), and T. McLeish (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Narwhal

 

(Monodon monoceros), a mammal of the subfamily Delphinapterinae of the family Delphinidae. The female is up to 5 m long, and the male up to 6 m long. Males may weigh as much as one ton. The newborn calf is about 1.5 m long. The narwhal has a rounded head and lacks a dorsal fin. The adults are light yellow with black spots; the newborns are black. The narwhal has only two upper teeth. The left tooth develops into a twisted tusk up to 3 m in length, the right tooth usually remains undeveloped. The narwhal is a rare species, found in arctic waters, primarily around Greenland and the northern part of the Canadian archipelago. Narwhals live among the ice and feed on cephalopods and fish.

REFERENCE

Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhash-chikh strati, vol. 9.) [17 -732–2]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

narwhal

[′när‚wäl]
(vertebrate zoology)
Monodon monoceros. An arctic whale characterized by lack of a dorsal fin, and by possession in the male of a long, twisted, pointed tusk (or rarely, two tusks) which is a source of ivory.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

narwhal

, narwal, narwhale
an arctic toothed whale, Monodon monoceros, having a black-spotted whitish skin and, in the male, a long spiral tusk: family Monodontidae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Non-fiction | Arctic Animals I Narwhal | Animal Behaviours | Animal Biology
An international team of researchers set up 16 underwater microphones to eavesdrop on narwhal click vocalizations at 11 pack ice sites in Greenland's Baffin Bay in 2013.
In her linoleum block prints, illustrator Taeeun Yoo brings it all to life with great warmth and a delightful cast of creatures, from a narwhal in a small fishbowl to a penguin on a leash.
A narwhal tusk forms the shaft of the Heritage Mace.
I can personally attribute much of my success to the foundation provided during my first tour aboard USS Narwhal (SSN 671) by the Chief of the Boat.
Ivory here is any animal tooth large enough for manufacturing: narwhal, orca, walrus, pig tusks, hippo, elephant, mammoth, and mastodon.
Based on the acclaimed National Film Board of Canada animated short, Lumaajuuq, The Blind Boy & the Loon is a beautiful retelling of a traditional Inuit story that explains the origin of the narwhal and cautions listeners against the dangers of seeking revenge.