Sperm Whales and Other Deep-Sea Life, by Sally Morgan ISBN 9781845389512
Five out of five stars
While it is most unlikely that there is any surface territory of the Earth that remains unexplored, the situation is quite different regarding the deepest areas of the oceans. Very little of that area has been examined and what is known is fascinating. It is an area of perpetual darkness, tremendous pressures and limited food supplies. While not all of the animal life that lives in the ocean depths is known, some of those that have been seen and studied are incredible. Some of those creatures are displayed in this book.
One of the few creatures that is capable of traversing both the surface and the great depths is the sperm whale. Being an air breather, the sperm whale must surface on a regular basis, yet it can remain submerged for up to two hours. Since it can dive down to 1000 meters (roughly one-fifth of a mile) in approximately 10 minutes, it can hunt the depths for well over an hour.
The megamouth shark was first seen in 1976 and it lives only at the depths. It feeds by swimming slowly with its mouth open, filtering food out of the water. Unlike the powerful surface sharks, the megamouth lacks the muscles for attacking prey.
The giant squid can grow up to forty feet long and weigh a ton, with very strong tentacles covered in powerful suckers. There have been documented instances of ships being attacked by giant squid, for they are efficient hunters. Supposedly, a sailor in World War II was eaten by a giant squid.
To me, the most interesting creature featured in this book is the Japanese Spider Crab. It has legs that can be up to 2 meters long (6.5 feet). The Spider Crab is also one of the fiercest looking animals, easily being the source of legends.
This is a wonderful book of science that educates and entertains as it is fun to read. It also makes you wonder what other amazing creatures are yet to be discovered in the depths of the oceans.