A resident population of 150 Finner Whales feed in the rich waters of the ocean of Coyote.
They are the largest animals on the planet. The Finner Whales are baleen and toothless whales.
They can reach a length of 75 feet and weigh as much as 75 tons. The Finner Whale is
streamlined with a pointed snout, is milky-white underwater and gray-black on top. Its name
comes from the extremely small, hooked fin on its back, which is only a foot long in adults.
This huge predator feeds on krill, one of the tinniest of all shrimp-like crustaceans, as well
as algae, codfish, herring, sardines, squid and anchovies. The Finner Whale can remain
underwater for 25 to 30 minutes before rising for air, but it is erratic in its cycle and is therefore difficult to track. It is extremely gregarious, showing no fear of boats and usually travels in pods
of 18 to 20, although groups as large as 100 have been seen.
It is monogamous and is extremely affectionate and loyal to its partner. They breed May
through August and give birth the following year to a 18- to 25-foot-long offspring,
which is nursed for 5.5 to 6 months.
Warm desert pools, streams and springs.
The Desert Fish is a small, silvery colored fish with 5 to 8 dark bands on its side. This
tiny fish grows to a full average length of only 2.8 inches. The Desert Fish develop quickly, sometimes reaching full maturity within 2.5 to 3 months. Although their average life
span is 7 to 10 months, some survive more than one year.
The Desert Fish have a short, scaled head with an upturned mouth. The anal and dorsal fins
are rounded with the dorsal sometimes exhibiting a dark blotch. The caudal fin is
convex at the rear. The Desert Fish feed on brown and green algae. During winter months,
when the water is cold, they become dormant, burrowing in the muddy bottom of their
As spring approaches and the winter warms, The Desert Fish become very active and begin their mating ritual. The breeding males become iridescent blue in color and defend their territory, chasing away all other fish except females that are ready to spawn. Spawning starts towards the end of February and continues through summer. As temperatures become extreme toward summer, evaporation dries up most pools and streams, resulting in the death of most Desert fish. A few survive in the small number of pools, streams and springs that not dry up completely.
The Opaleye Family usually come ashore on the windward sides of cool, fog-shrouded
island, offshore rocks or islets. Members of them are the them are usually found only in temperate and subtropical regions.
The Opaleye is composed of 3 geographically isolated populations numbering between
80,000 and 120,000. On fairly warm days, they stay continually wet in tide pools and by
rolling in wet sand to keep cool. After extensive swimming and diving, they may be seen
in the water waving one flipper, another means of dissipating heat.
The adult male may reach a length of 8 feet and weigh as much as 500 pounds. The adult
female will reach only 6 feet and weigh a third as much. They feed on krill and green algae.
In order to breed, the Opaleye establish rookeries, special breeding grounds where they congregate. The breeding males, 5 years and older, arrive at the rookeries first in early spring and battle other males until relatively few are left. The dominate males shift territory with time of day, level of tides, temperature and location of females. The harem size of a bull varies between 12 to 20 females. Females begin to breed at about 3 years of age. Shortly after arriving at the rookery, she gives birth to a single pup, then a few days later, she will go into heat and is bred. After a gestation period of 340 to 360 gays, the pup is born and will nurse for up to 4 months. By mid August, when the breeding seasons ends, the Opaleye scatter along the coast, males and females going in opposite directions, until the following spring.
Copyright 1992, Publications International,Ltd.
The Text & Photos of The Finner Whale and The Opaleye
Copyright1997, A.R. Royo & Dan Nougier
The Text of The Desert Fish
Copyright 1997, Digital West Media, Inc.
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