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National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada

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Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan

Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)

Narwhal
© Parks Canada / Dorothea Kappler, 1995

Actually a tooth, the narwhal's spiral tusk pierces the upper lip and can be 3 m long at maturity. Normally only the male has a tusk, though there are a few instances of females having one as well. Narwhal like deep water and navigate through pack ice to the edge of the ice cap. They have been seen within 5░ of the North Pole. The Scandinavians gave the species their common name, which means "corpse whale", referring to the drowned appearance of their skin, while their scientific name translates as "one-toothed animal that is like a unicorn". In Canada, narwhal are found in the Eastern Arctic, and occasionally venture as far south as northeastern Newfoundland.


Last Updated: 2013-05-10 To the top
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