Biologists are looking for sperm whales that have become entangled in a potentially deadly fishing net outside Spain
Sperm whales belong to the suborder of toothed whales and dolphins, known as odontocetes, and are one of the most easily recognized whales at sea.
The creatures got their name during the days of commercial whaling.
Whalers thought that their large square head was a huge reservoir for sperm, because when the head was cut open it appeared to contain a milky white substance.
A gut secretion, called amber, found in sperm whales, has been used as a fixative in the perfume industry.
It used to be worth more than its weight in gold, but this is no longer the case.
Sperm whales got their name during the days of commercial whaling. Whalers thought that their large square head was a huge reservoir for sperm, because when the head was cut open it appeared to contain a milky white substance
The skin is dark or brownish gray, with white markings around the lower jaw and bottom. It has relatively short, stocky fins and a low bump instead of a dorsal fin.
The diet consists largely of squid. The creatures have a life expectancy about equal to that of a human, about 70 years.
Males grow to about 18.3 meters (60 feet), while females reach 12 meters (40 feet). Their young or calves grow to about 3.5 meters (11 feet).
They have a maximum weight of about 57,000 kilograms (125 tons) for men.
The sperm whale’s massive head, reaching up to 1/3 of its total body length, is home to the heaviest brains in the animal kingdom.
It also includes a cavity large enough for a small car to fit in and containing a yellowish wax known as spermaceti oil, which is thought to help control buoyancy while diving and acts as a acoustic lens.
They have between 40 and 52 teeth in their long, narrow lower jaw that are thick and conical, can grow up to 20 cm long and weigh 1 kg each.
The sperm whale is one of the deepest diving mammals in the world, regularly diving up to 400 meters (1,300 feet), sometimes with a depth of up to two to three kilometers (one to two miles)
It is thought to hold its breath for up to two hours, although 45 minutes is the average dive time.
Sperm whales are found in most of the world’s oceans, except in the high Arctic, and prefer deep water.
The exact current world population is unknown, but it is estimated to be around 100,000. The sperm whale is listed as a vulnerable species.