Species fact sheet by Global Register of Migratory Species - www.groms.de
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Monodon monoceros Linnaeus, 1756
Family: Monodontidae
Order: Cetacea
English: Narwhal
French: Narval
Spanish: Narval
German: Narwal (There's a German version of this page!)
Norwegian: Narhval (There's a Norwegian version of this page!)
Migration: intraoceanic
Regions: Europe, North America, North Asia

 distributionmap of Monodon monoceros 

“Narwhals follow the distribution of the ice and move toward coastal areas in summer when these are ice free. During freeze-up the coastal areas are abandoned and the narwhals move offshore. In winter they stay in very heavy consolidated pack ice, usually in leads or holes in 10/10 of ice. When ice breaks up in the spring, narwhals penetrate north through narrow and open water channels.
Movements from summer through winter have been monitored by tracking of narwhals instrumented with satellite-linked radio transmitters attached to the tusk of males. At summering grounds in West Greenland and Canada, narwhals moved back and forth between glacier fronts, offshore areas, and neighbouring fjords. When fast ice formed the whales moved out to deeper water, usually up to a 1000-m water depth. In October the whales moved southward toward the edge of the continental shelf where the water depth increases over a short distance from 1000 to 2000 m. This slope was also used as a wintering ground, and even though the whales seemed stationary in this area, they still conducted shorter movements along this steep slope. Narwhals tracked from Canada and West Greenland were within a few kilometers from each other at these wintering grounds at the deep slope at the edge of the continental shelf in central Baffin Bay. The importance of this area as a wintering ground has also been confirmed by aerial surveys. No satellite tracking of whales have been conducted so far in spring and early summer. The mean swimming speed of travelling narwhals is 5 km/hr.”
Heide-Jorgensen MP SR (2002), Narwhal - Monodon monocerus, In: Encyclopedia of marine mammals, Perrin WF, Würsig B, Thewissen JGM (eds), 783-787, Academic Press, San Diego

More about whales and dolphins from:
Riede, K. (2001): Global Register of Migratory Species. Weltregister wandernder Tierarten. (p. 64-68)

Recommended link(s):

To gather more information about whales in general see the link collection at connotea.org: cetacea
Please help us by updating our link collection via connotea!

Feedback: mail to Klaus Riede

(Last update: 6.7.2007 by A. Tappenhölter)