Category Archives: Cetaceans

Hello Toadfish – Brrrrzz Brrrrzz Brrrrzz Brrrrzz

Splendid Toadfish –
Sanopus splendidus

It is difficult for toadfishes to swim across great distances, so populations can become easily isolated by geography and evolve into now species.

Also known as the coral toadfish and the Cozumel splendid toadfish is a species entirely endemic to the island of Cozumel, Mexico.

Bonus Fact 1: Toadfish have gone into space orbin on two NASA space shuttle missions.

Bonus Fact 2: Gulf Toadfish who life off the coast of Florida make up a notable portion of the dolphin’s diet, approximately 13%. Scientific experiments have shown that the mating call of the toadfish alerts dolphin predators to the fish’s location. Similarly, the sounds caused by the dolphin when hunting its prey alert toadfish to the location of the predators and cause the fish to silence their mating call. Male toadfish will reduce their mating calls by up to 50% when they hear the low sound of a dolphin’s “pop”.
“Fish Eavesdrop to Avoid Becoming Dinner”. Livescience. Retrieved 2016-10-20.

Bonus Fact 3: The sounds of a toadfish reminds me of an amplified phone vibrating.

Sanopus – Greek, sanoo, saino = ‘to shake the tail’ + Greek, pous = ‘foot’
Splendidius – Latin splendeō = ‘shine’ +‎ -idus = ‘tending to’

Thar she Blows!

Whale blowhole
Whale blowhole

A blowhole is the hole at the top of the whales head through which the animal breathes air.

In baleen whales, those whales who do not have teeth, but rather have baleen plates to filter food out of the water , blowholes are in pairs – positioned in a V-shape . It is homologous with the nostril of other mammals, and evolved via gradual movement of the nostrils to the top of the head.

Toothed whales have only one blowhole. The blowhole of a sperm whale, a toothed whale, is located left of center in the frontal area of the snout, and is actually its left nostril, while the right nostril lacks an opening to the surface and its nasal passage is otherwise well developed.

The trachea only connects to the blowhole, and the animal cannot breathe through its mouth. Because of this, there is no risk of food accidentally ending up in the animal’s lungs, so whales have no gag reflex.

Bonus Fact:
Part of their ability to stay underwater so long comes down to the size of their lungs which are, as you can imagine, pretty large (to give you an idea, a blue whale’s lung capacity is 5000 liters, or 1320 gallons). However, it also has to do with the way whales are able to process the air that goes in. It’s estimated that whales use about 90% of the oxygen that enters their lungs, making the most of each breath. In comparison, humans are estimated to use only about 15% of the oxygen we breathe.

Whale flight

Humpback Feeding
Humpback Feeding

Humpback whale feeding on herring. It scientific name is Megaptera and literally means mega wings.

Humpback – is derived from the curving of their backs when diving.
Megaptera –  Greek mega– “giant” + ptera ‘wing’ refers to their large front flippers.
novaeangliae – French = “New Englander” and was probably given by Brisson due to regular sightings of humpbacks off the coast of New England.

Whale blowhole Fact

Humpback Whale and Sperm Whale
Blowing hot air.

Whale Fact:

Baleen Whales – those whales who do not have teeth, but rather have baleen plates to filter food out of the water – have two blowholes, while toothed whales have just one blowhole.

Odyssey Expeditions Whale Encounters

During the summer Adventure Voyages we occasionally see Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)  in the British Virgin Islands.  We have had several dives where the dolphins have stayed and played with dives for 15 minutes.  Larger migratory whales visit the BVIs during the winter.

The S.E.A voyages in the Grenadines we have seen a pod of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) that swam for over 30 minutes with the yacht while sailing .  We commonly see Short Finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) at a distance and we see Atlantic Bottle Nose (Tursiops truncatus) and Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) that are famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air.