A mammal is a vertebrate animal that is characterized by having mammary glands and in females it has the objective of feeding their young. From there it derives its name: mammals since their young suck milk to be fed. Likewise, a mammal is a warm-blooded animal.
What is an aquatic or marine mammal?
Within mammals there are some that have adapted to the aquatic environment. That is, mammals whose habitat is water. These mammals are called mammals aquatic or mammals marine .
It is important to mention that aquatic mammals are terrestrial animals that have adapted to aquatic life and not the other way around.
Types of marine or aquatic mammals
This group of aquatic mammals are classified or divided into three: cetaceans , sirenids (or sirenians ) and pinnipeds or carnivores:
- Cetaceans : they live almost their entire life under water. These mammals have a body similar to that of fish. Generally, its front legs have turned into flippers. On the other hand, the hind legs have completely disappeared. Within this subspecies of aquatic mammals there are about 80 species, including the white whale, the dolphin and the killer whale. When living in an aquatic habitat they completely need a thick layer of fat that serves as thermal insulation . In addition, these mammals do not have fur. Within this subgroup, we can distinguish those that have teeth (called odontocetes ) and those without teeth (that are called mysticetes ).
- Sirénids : they inhabit both the sea and the land. They are generally large and heavy animals. Within this group are elephants, manatees and the dugong.
- Pinnipeds or carnivores . They are aquatic or marine mammalian animals that are carnivores or predators . Their body is fusiform and they are characterized by having large, thick lips. They do not have ears and their nostrils contain sphincters which prevent water from entering their lungs. Animals belonging to this subclass are the killer whale, the elephant seal or the otter.
Respiration of aquatic mammals
The aquatic mammals have a respiratory system type lung . In addition, they have a great diving capacity and oxygen reserves. The breathing pattern of this type of mammal varies remarkably:
- The cetaceans inhale very quickly on the surface and accelerated way exhale also under water. It is the typical behavior of whales.
- The sirenians can spend long periods of time without inhaling oxygen on the surface. However, and since all aquatic or marine mammals have a pulmonary system , they will need to inhale oxygen so they must leave the aquatic habitat.
- The seals have a rapid and vigorous breathing.
27 Examples of Aquatic Mammals
- White Whale
- Sperm whale
- China white dolphin
- Bottlenose dolphin
- The elephant seal.
- Steller’s sea lion
- The wolf or sea lion.
- Southern elephant seal
- Common seal
- Gray seal
- North American Lamantine
- The seals.
- Australian sea lion
- California Sea Lion
- Two-Haired Sea Lion
- Cape fur seal
- Manatees or sea cows
- Killer whale
- Blue whale
- Fin whale