Walruses are the largest pinnipeds northern hemisphere of our planet.Their superiority can challenge only the elephant seals that live in the southern hemisphere.A distinctive feature of these mammals are, of course, their very long fangs, eventually turned into tusks.What are the tusks of walruses?We will try to answer this question in this article.
Who are the walrus?
They are representatives of the class of mammals that live in the seas of the Arctic, which are the only modern species belonging to the family of the same name - Walrus.Systematically walruses are a group of pinnipeds.Adult birds are easily recognizable by their outstanding long tusks.It is a mistake to believe that it is - separate fangs.This is not entirely true, because the upper walrus tusk with time has changed not only its form, but also mission: he has become a real tusk.But we will talk about later.
Before explaining what is needed tusks walruses, should detail this kind of pinnipeds heavyweights.Walruses - a large marine pinnipeds animals with a fairly thick skin covered with short yellow-brown hair.Its thickness can sometimes exceed 5 centimeters.With age the hair fall.The old skin is almost hairless animals.Under the skin just above the blades are two outgrowth.Beneath them are hidden so-called air sacs.Walruses fill them with air, allowing them to sleep on the water surface.
body length of adult males can exceed 4 meters and their maximum weight - 2 tons.As mentioned above, the large upper canines eventually turned into a well-developed tusks.Their total weight is 12 kilograms.The length of each tusk grows up to 1 meter.Walrus (photos presented in the article) has a fairly broad face, lined with lots of thick and hard bristles resembling a mustache (whiskers).In these animals, there are no external organs of hearing, and eyes are small and weak-sighted.
Distribution of species
Walruses - typical of the Arctic residents.For example, the Pacific subspecies is found in shallow waters in the Chukchi and East Siberian seas.According to scientists, the modern population of Pacific walrus is 200 000 individuals.The lion's share of them is found not only in the Chukchi and East Siberian seas, but also near the Wrangel Island, in the Beaufort Sea.In summer you can watch the walruses in the Anadyr and the Bristol Channel.
Unfortunately, Atlantic walrus subspecies has been virtually destroyed as a result of commercial fishing, which at one time is not controlled by the relevant authorities.The population of this subspecies of pinnipeds are currently no more than 000 individuals and 20.Distributed by Atlantic walrus on Arctic Canada, Spitsbergen and Greenland to the western region of the Russian Arctic.
Tusks are the most characteristic feature of all adult walruses.As mentioned above, once it had fangs, which eventually lengthened and transformed into tusks.They are both in males and females.These tusks grow throughout an animal's life is constantly updated.What are the tusks of walruses?Of course, for the fights for social dominance, to find food ... and not only!Consider this question in more detail.
Why walrus tusks?
tusks - is universal tool of walruses.They are used as an ice ax, without which it is simply impossible to move on the slippery ice, and as a kind of blades with which walruses recovered shells from the seabed, and as support for the heavy head, and even as a deadly weapon needed for battlewith rivals and enemies (polar bears).In addition, tusks, these pinnipeds heavyweights they kill large prey.In the end, a kind of distinctive sign walrus: one powerful fangs, he is in charge!
As you can see, there are many explanations for what needs tusks walrus.Scientists say that, despite all of the above advantages tusks, their main role - social.The fact that the long and powerful fangs suggest appropriate social status of any individual: in any gathering of walruses leader and the leader is precisely the individual, tusks which will visually look more powerful and longer than the others.
If, for example, the dominant male suddenly met his kinsman with exactly the same length and large fangs, battle can not be avoided!Not always such fights lead to the death of a weak opponent, it is very often one of the walruses leave the battlefield.Scientists note that the social distinction walruses, concentrated in their tusks, is not limited to the dominance of these animals.The shape and size of the tusks also indicate age and sex lastonogo.
walrus tusks What else?For hunting, of course!It is impossible not to note how walruses using their tusks very long to earn their living.The animal dives deep into the sea, makes it to the bottom and there are already using their tusks beginning to prowl in search of food: oysters, mussels, mussels and other shellfish.Walrus tusks unearths the seabed and stringing the victim on his tusk like a piece of meat on a skewer!