Whales are classified with the cetacean group (dolphins, porpoises, toothed whales and baleen whales). There are eight hypothetical subpopulations of Atlantic walruses, based largely on their geographical distribution and movements: five west of Greenland and three east of Greenland. The mothers nurse for over a year before weaning, but the young can spend up to five years with the mothers.  The Atlantic subspecies weighs about 10–20% less than the Pacific subspecies. There are 2 sub-species of walruses, Atlantic and Pacific. Tolkien to derive from a Germanic language, and it has been attributed largely to either the Dutch language or Old Norse. Even in the presence of a free area, a herd of walruses does not disperse along the coastline, but keeps cumulatively, just as they dive together into the water. , The isolated population of Laptev Sea walruses is confined year-round to the central and western regions of the Laptev Sea, the eastmost regions of the Kara Sea, and the westmost regions of the East Siberian Sea. This mammal lives in the Arctic Ocean and feeds on shellfish from the seabed.  These dates coincide with the hypothesis derived from fossils that the walrus evolved from a tropical or subtropical ancestor that became isolated in the Atlantic Ocean and gradually adapted to colder conditions in the Arctic. While there has been some debate as to whether all three lineages are monophyletic, i.e. The first three to four months are spent with the blastula in suspended development before it implants itself in the uterus. Due to the overwhelming size of the walrus it is no surprise that they consume very large amounts of food.  Reduced coastal sea ice has also been implicated in the increase of stampeding deaths crowding the shorelines of the Chukchi Sea between eastern Russia and western Alaska. As a result of less sea ice, walrus are changing their behavior. Early aerial censuses of Pacific walrus conducted at five-year intervals between 1975 and 1985 estimated populations of above 220,000 in each of the three surveys. The archaic English word for walrus—morse—is widely thought to have come from the Slavic languages, which in turn borrowed it from Finno-Ugric languages.  While the dentition of walruses is highly variable, they generally have relatively few teeth other than the tusks. Despite being wel… These are elongated canines, which are present in both male and female walruses and can reach a length of 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and weigh up to 5.4 kg (12 lb). After a …  Newborn walruses are already quite large, averaging 33 to 85 kg (73 to 187 lb) in weight and 1 to 1.4 m (3 ft 3 in to 4 ft 7 in) in length across both sexes and subspecies. The walrus's body shape shares features with both sea lions (eared seals: Otariidae) and seals (true seals: Phocidae). Smaller numbers of males summer in the Gulf of Anadyr on the southern coast of the Siberian Chukchi Peninsula, and in Bristol Bay off the southern coast of Alaska, west of the Alaska Peninsula. , Even though walruses can dive to depths beyond 500 meters, they spend most of their time in shallow waters (and the nearby ice floes) hunting for food. What Do Walruses Eat?  The females join them and copulate in the water. They can remain submerged for as long as half an hour. Adult walrus … The Boone and Crockett Big Game Record book has entries for Atlantic and Pacific walrus.  Walruses may occasionally prey on ice-entrapped narwhals and scavenge on whale carcasses but there is little evidence to prove this. Its second part has also been hypothesized to come from the Old Norse word for "horse". Because of its distinctive appearance, great bulk, and immediately recognizable whiskers and tusks, the walrus also appears in the popular cultures of peoples with little direct experience with the animal, particularly in English children's literature. , Aside from the large numbers of organisms actually consumed by the walrus, its foraging has a large peripheral impact on benthic communities. Walruses Are Related to Seals and Sea Lions. This includes the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea. As you read these walrus facts you can be confident that your knowledge about them is going to continue to expand.  In April 2006, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the population of the northwestern Atlantic walrus in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador as having been eradicated in Canada. Threats and Status: The walrus lives on the edge of the Arctic ice sheet and is often hunted by polar bears and killer whales (orcas). , The walrus has an air sac under its throat which acts like a flotation bubble and allows it to bob vertically in the water and sleep. , The much smaller population of Atlantic walruses ranges from the Canadian Arctic, across Greenland, Svalbard, and the western part of Arctic Russia. While some of these uses have faded with access to alternative technologies, walrus meat remains an important part of local diets, and tusk carving and engraving remain a vital art form. It disturbs (bioturbates) the sea floor, releasing nutrients into the water column, encouraging mixing and movement of many organisms and increasing the patchiness of the benthos.  Tusks were once thought to be used to dig out prey from the seabed, but analyses of abrasion patterns on the tusks indicate they are dragged through the sediment while the upper edge of the snout is used for digging. , Currently, two of the three walrus subspecies are listed as "least-concern" by the IUCN, while the third is "data deficient". The name of the walrus means “tooth walker”. Pregnancy lasts one year.  The sustainability of these levels of harvest is difficult to determine given uncertain population estimates and parameters such as fecundity and mortality. Because skin blood vessels constrict in cold water, the walrus can appear almost white when swimming. Limits on commercial hunting allowed the population to increase to a peak in the 1970s-1980s, but subsequently, walrus numbers have again declined. .  There were roughly 200,000 Pacific walruses in 1990. , The walrus has a diverse and opportunistic diet, feeding on more than 60 genera of marine organisms, including shrimp, crabs, tube worms, soft corals, tunicates, sea cucumbers, various mollusks, and even parts of other pinnipeds. Growing up to 3,750 pounds, male Pacific walruses are larger than females and measure approximately 10 feet long. They can be found in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Arctic Ocean.  An alternative theory is that it comes from the Dutch words wal "shore" and reus "giant".. Breeding occurs from January to March, peaking in February. , Walruses live to about 20–30 years old in the wild. Killer whales regularly attack walruses, although walruses are believed to have successfully defended themselves via counterattack against the larger cetacean. Thinner pack ice over the Bering Sea has reduced the amount of resting habitat near optimal feeding grounds. An occasional male of the Pacific subspecies far exceeds normal dimensions. The walrus is a mammal in the order Carnivora. They appear awkward on land but graceful in the water where they feel most comfortable. The polar bear often hunts the walrus by rushing at beached aggregations and consuming the individuals crushed or wounded in the sudden exodus, typically younger or infirm animals. The walrus has played a prominent role in the cultures of many indigenous Arctic peoples, who have hunted the walrus for its meat, fat, skin, tusks, and bone. Since walruses have few natural predators, they don't really have to worry about being eaten while they slumber either. , Due to its great size and tusks, the walrus has only two natural predators: the killer whale (orca) and the polar bear. The current population of these walruses has been estimated to be between 5,000 and 10,000. Young walruses are deep brown and grow paler and more cinnamon-colored as they age. From adistance the walrus appears to be without fur. The walrus is a large pinniped with upper canine teeth that grow into long tusks. They prefer a habitat with a gravelly bottom. Due to the reduction in abundance, the walrus area now exploded into several unconnected sites. A walrus can live for forty years or more and is, indeed, a unique and marvelous creature of this earth. Females weigh about two-thirds as much as males, with the Atlantic females averaging 560 kg (1,230 lb), sometimes weighing as little as 400 kg (880 lb), and the Pacific female averaging 800 kg (1,800 lb). Walruses are very sensitive to disturbances. , Walrus ivory masks made by Yupik in Alaska, John Tenniel's illustration for Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", Dutch explorers fight a walrus on the coast of Novaya Zemlya, 1596. Walruses are found throughout the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans where they inhabit ice floes and rocky coastlines, along with spending a great deal of time in the freezing cold water. The walrus population in Greenland's Thule district may be stable but the population off central west Greenland remains depleted. David Attenborough, the series' narrator, blames the incident on changes to the Arctic ecosystem that walruses inhabit. Antarctic pinnipeds are some of the most unique on Earth, ranging from the filter feeding crabeater seal to the carnivorous leopard seal. It is the sole surviving member of the family Odobenidae, one of three lineages in the suborder Pinnipedia along with true seals (Phocidae) and eared seals (Otariidae). O. rosmarus rosmarus This more widely separates lactating females from their calves, increasing nutritional stress for the young and lower reproductive rates. Sexual maturity in walruses occurs at the age of 5 years. The Norwegian manuscript Konungsskuggsja, thought to date from around AD 1240, refers to the walrus as "rosmhvalr" in Iceland and "rostungr" in Greenland (walruses were by now extinct in Iceland and Norway, while the word evolved in Greenland). Pacific walruses live in the northern seas near Russia and Alaska. O. rosmarus laptevi (debated). , Walruses prefer shallow shelf regions and forage primarily on the sea floor, often from sea ice platforms. , An isolated population in the Laptev Sea was considered by some authorities, including many Russian biologists and the canonical Mammal Species of the World, to be a third subspecies, O. r. laptevi (Chapskii, 1940), but has since been determined to be of Pacific walrus origin.. Adult walrus are characterised by prominent tusks and whiskers, and their considerable bulk: adult males in the Pacific can weigh more than 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds) and, among pinnipeds, are exceeded in size only by the two species of elephant seals. SushiWalrus streams live on Twitch! , The rest of the year (late summer and fall), walruses tend to form massive aggregations of tens of thousands of individuals on rocky beaches or outcrops. What are walrus mating rituals like?  Analysis of trends in ice cover published in 2012 indicate that Pacific walrus populations are likely to continue to decline for the foreseeable future, and shift further north, but that careful conservation management might be able to limit these effects. They weigh 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb) at birth and are able to swim.  Tusks are slightly longer and thicker among males, which use them for fighting, dominance and display; the strongest males with the largest tusks typically dominate social groups.  Length typically ranges from 2.2 to 3.6 m (7 ft 3 in to 11 ft 10 in). The greatest number of these animals lives on the Chukchi Peninsula, the banks of the Bering Strait and the Labrador Peninsula, and few walruses in the western and central parts of the Eurasian coast. Walrus aren’t called the Giants or Kings of the Arctic for no reason! [clarification needed] According to various legends, the tusks are formed either by the trails of mucus from the weeping girl or her long braids. Walruses occur in gravel-bottom habitats and they are found in water at a maximum depth of 262 feet. Thus they tend to live relatively long life spans of around 30 years. Pacific walruses live … Walruses spend one third of their time on land or pack ice and the other two thirds in the ocean. Unlike seals walruses avoid extensive water spaces and endless pack (long-term) ice, so they are found only on the coasts of Europe, Asia, North America and the Arctic islands. Due to the reduction in abundance, the walrus area now exploded into several unconnected sites. Walruses are commonly found on the ice in the Arctic Circle.  The bears also isolate walruses when they overwinter and are unable to escape a charging bear due to inaccessible diving holes in the ice.  From there, it presumably recolonized the North Pacific Ocean during high glaciation periods in the Pleistocene via the Central American Seaway. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the walrus was heavily exploited by American and European sealers and whalers, leading to the near-extirpation of the Atlantic subspecies. They winter over in the Bering Sea along the eastern coast of Siberia south to the northern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and along the southern coast of Alaska.  The walrus does not, however, comprise a significant component of either of these predators' diets. In the spring and fall, walruses congregate throughout the Bering Strait, reaching from the western coast of Alaska to the Gulf of Anadyr. Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus). Both the killer whale and the polar bear are also most likely to prey on walrus calves. Both in Chukotka and Alaska, the aurora borealis is believed to be a special world inhabited by those who died by violence, the changing rays representing deceased souls playing ball with a walrus head.  Rarely, incidents of walruses preying on seabirds, particularly the Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia), have been documented. This strategy of delayed implantation, common among pinnipeds, presumably evolved to optimize both the mating season and the birthing season, determined by ecological conditions that promote newborn survival. About two-thirds of the lives of these animals is spent underwater. The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered marine mammal with a discontinuous distribution about the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere. Old males, in particular, become nearly pink. The largest single herd of walrus in Canada has about 5,000 members.  Commercial walrus harvesting is now outlawed throughout its range, although Chukchi, Yupik and Inuit peoples are permitted to kill small numbers towards the end of each summer. What do walruses eat? Its skin is highly wrinkled and thick, up to 10 cm (4 in) around the neck and shoulders of males. , 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T15106A45228501.en, "Use of spectral analysis to test hypotheses on the origin of pinnipeds", "Phylogeny and divergence of the pinnipeds (Carnivora: Mammalia) assessed using a multigene dataset", 10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[411:ANMOMC]2.0.CO;2, "State of Circumpolar Walrus Populations : Odobenus rosmarus", "A new tuskless walrus from the Miocene of Orange County, California, with comments on the diversity and taxonomy of odobenids". Where do walruses live? The walrus palate is uniquely vaulted, enabling effective suction.  They rut from January through April, decreasing their food intake dramatically.  They are not particularly deep divers compared to other pinnipeds; their deepest recorded dives are around 80 m (260 ft). Tusks are also used to form and maintain holes in the ice and aid the walrus in climbing out of water onto ice. , The walrus plays an important role in the religion and folklore of many Arctic peoples. There is no hierarchy in the herd, all members of the herd are less equal in their rights. For more on walruses and related topics, try some of the links floating around on the next page. During their lifetimes, male and female walruses live apart, in separate herds.  However, killer whales have been observed successfully attacking walruses with few or no injuries.. The extent and thickness of the pack ice has reached unusually low levels in several recent years. This blubber keeps them warm and the fat provides energy to the walrus. The origin of the word walrus is thought by J.R.R. Every year, they cover 1,863 miles in migration. Since a walrus's hide usually accounts for about 20% of its body weight, the total body mass of these two giants is estimated to have been at least 2,300 kg (5,000 lb). As a secondary sexual characteristic, males also acquire significant nodules, called "bosses", particularly around the neck and shoulders.  The Pacific walrus is not listed as "depleted" according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act nor as "threatened" or "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.  Several hundred are removed annually around Greenland. The scientific name for the walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, is Latin for “tooth walking sea-horse.” Record Holder.  Because ovulation is suppressed until the calf is weaned, females give birth at most every two years, leaving the walrus with the lowest reproductive rate of any pinniped. During the 19th century and the early 20th century, walruses were widely hunted and killed for their blubber, walrus ivory, and meat.  All told, the walrus is the third largest pinniped species, after the two elephant seals. This species is subdivided into two subspecies: the Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), which lives in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific walrus (O. r. divergens), which lives in the Pacific Ocean.  The walrus sucks the meat out by sealing its powerful lips to the organism and withdrawing its piston-like tongue rapidly into its mouth, creating a vacuum. Its first part is thought to derive from a word such as Dutch walvis "whale". Pacific walrus can be difficult or expensive to see in the wild, with only a few key locations in Alaska where viewing is realistic or practical. Walrus tusks were a big commodity during the period, with Europeans willing to pay big money or trade iron and much-needed timber (trees are scarce in Greenland) for the ivory. An estimated four to seven thousand Pacific walruses are harvested in Alaska and in Russia, including a significant portion (about 42%) of struck and lost animals. DESCRIPTION: Walruses are easily distinguished by their long, white tusks, cinnamon-brown skin, grizzled whiskers, and bodies full of blubber. The maximal number of teeth is 38 with dentition formula: 220.127.116.11.1.3.2, but over half of the teeth are rudimentary and occur with less than 50% frequency, such that a typical dentition includes only 18 teeth 1.1.3.00.1.3.0, Surrounding the tusks is a broad mat of stiff bristles ("mystacial vibrissae"), giving the walrus a characteristic whiskered appearance. As with otariids, it can turn its rear flippers forward and move on all fours; however, its swimming technique is more like that of true seals, relying less on flippers and more on sinuous whole body movements. The extraocular muscles of the walrus are well-developed. Both male and female walruses have large tusks that clearly distinguish them from other marine mammals. They can swim to a depth of around 100m to feed on molluscs and other invertebrates, but on average do not go much deeper than 20-30m. An approaching plane or boat can cause them to stampede into the water. A lone mountain walrus makes the trek across the Nevada desert.  Recent multigene analysis indicates the odobenids and otariids diverged from the phocids about 20–26 million years ago, while the odobenids and the otariids separated 15–20 million years ago. While some outsized Pacific males can weigh as much as 2,000 kg (4,400 lb), most weigh between 800 and 1,700 kg (1,800 and 3,700 lb). In late spring and summer, for example, several hundred thousand Pacific walruses migrate from the Bering Sea into the Chukchi Sea through the relatively narrow Bering Strait. The calves learn to run within 2 weeks of being born, and they can begin their migration back to their northern climes. Walrus are huge. For example, in a Chukchi version of the widespread myth of the Raven, in which Raven recovers the sun and the moon from an evil spirit by seducing his daughter, the angry father throws the daughter from a high cliff and, as she drops into the water, she turns into a walrus – possibly the original walrus. The diet of the Pacific walrus consist almost exclusively of benthic invertebrates (97 percent). However, vision in this species appears to be more suited for short-range.  A genetically distinct population existed in Iceland that was wiped out after Norse settlement around 1213–1330 AD.  However, it prefers benthic bivalve mollusks, especially clams, for which it forages by grazing along the sea bottom, searching and identifying prey with its sensitive vibrissae and clearing the murky bottoms with jets of water and active flipper movements. ] Compare морж (morž) in Russian, mursu in Finnish, morša in Northern Saami, and morse in French. The migration between the ice and the beach can be long-distance and dramatic. Laptev walruses live in the Laptev Sea of Russia. The Russian Atlantic and Laptev Sea populations are classified as Category 2 (decreasing) and Category 3 (rare) in the Russian Red Book. Perhaps some individuals can live up to 40 and even 50 years. Walruses live in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the world near the North Pole. The species name rosmarus is Scandinavian.  Calves are born during the spring migration, from April to June.  Odobenidae was once a highly diverse and widespread family, including at least twenty species in the subfamilies Imagotariinae, Dusignathinae and Odobeninae. , The compound Odobenus comes from odous (Greek for "teeth") and baino (Greek for "walk"), based on observations of walruses using their tusks to pull themselves out of the water.  A 28,000-year-old fossil walrus was dredged up from the bottom of San Francisco Bay, indicating that Pacific walruses ranged that far south during the last Ice Age. These organisms have flabby bodies, which often spot pink or brown hue, with short fur lining most of their bodies except for their fins. Even in the mating season, they do not have fatal battles, adults do not squeeze the young as it happens in other species. Olaus Magnus, who depicted the walrus in the Carta Marina in 1539, first referred to the walrus as the ros marus, probably a Latinization of morž, and this was adopted by Linnaeus in his binomial nomenclature. Walruses are pinnipeds, which classifies them in … Perhaps its best-known appearance is in Lewis Carroll's whimsical poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" that appears in his 1871 book Through the Looking-Glass. Their name, Odobenus rosmarus, means 'one that walks with teeth'.  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