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Tail flukes of sounding sperm whale (Physeter sp.)

Tail flukes of sounding sperm whale (Physeter sp.)

Z920/0015

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Credit

WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sperm whale tail. View of the tail flukes of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) as it sounds, or dives. Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales, with adult males reaching lengths of almost 20 metres. They inhabit warm and temperate seas throughout the world. Sperm whales are social animals, and live in groups (pods) of around ten individuals, of which one or two are male. Their main prey is large squid, for which they dive up to a kilometre beneath the surface. Many sperm whales carry scars from battles with huge squid, some of which may reach 15 metres in length themselves. Photographed in the sea off Los Angeles, California, USA.

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