Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Cetacea > Monodontidae > Monodon > Monodon monoceros

Monodon monoceros (Narwhal)

Synonyms: Ceratodon monodon; Narwalus microcephalus; Narwalus vulgaris
Language: French

Wikipedia Abstract

The narwhal, or narwhale (Monodon monoceros), is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. It is one of two living species of whale in the Monodontidae family, along with the beluga whale. The narwhal males are distinguished by a long, straight, helical tusk, which is an elongated upper left canine.
View Wikipedia Record: Monodon monoceros

EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 21.32
EDGE Score: 3.8


Adult Weight [2]  1.38 tons (1,250.00 kg)
Birth Weight [2]  176.37 lbs (80.00 kg)
Female Maturity [2]  6 years
Male Maturity [2]  8 years
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Piscivore
Diet - Fish [3]  60 %
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  40 %
Forages - Marine [3]  100 %
Gestation [2]  1 year 2 months
Litter Size [2]  1
Litters / Year [2]  0
Maximum Longevity [2]  50 years
Migration [1]  Intraoceanic
Water Biome [1]  Pelagic, Coastal
Weaning [2]  1 year 8 months

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Ib 12402936 Alaska, United States
Auyuittuq National Park II 4808115 Nunavut, Canada
Great Arctic State Nature Preserve 10302372 Taimyr, Russia
Kandalaksha State Nature Reserve 174283 Murmansk, Karelia, Russia
North-east Greenland National Park II 237590314 Greenland
Quttinirpaaq (Ellesmere Island) National Park Reserve II 9436606 Nunavut, Canada
Sirmilik National Park II 5475284 Canada
Ukkusiksalik National Park II   Nunavut, Canada
Ust-Lensky State Nature Reserve 3541020 Sakha, Russia

Prey / Diet

Arctogadus glacialis (Polar cod)[4]
Boreogadus saida (Polar cod)[5]
Gonatus fabricii (boreoatlantic armhook squid)[4]
Mallotus villosus (Capelin)[4]
Pandalus borealis (northern shrimp)[4]
Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Turbot)[5]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Cepphus grylle (Black Guillemot)1
Cystophora cristata (Hooded Seal)1
Delphinapterus leucas (Beluga)1
Entosphenus tridentatus (Pacific lamprey)1
Erignathus barbatus (Bearded Seal)1
Globicephala melas (Long-finned Pilot Whale)1
Pagophila eburnea (Ivory Gull)1
Pagophilus groenlandicus (Harp Seal)1
Phocoena phocoena (Harbor Porpoise)1
Rissa tridactyla (Black-legged Kittiwake)1
Somniosus microcephalus (gray shark)1
Uria lomvia (Thick-billed Murre)1


Homo sapiens (man)[4]
Odobenus rosmarus (Walrus)[5]
Orcinus orca (Killer Whale)[4]
Somniosus microcephalus (gray shark)[4]
Ursus maritimus (Polar Bear)[6]


Parasite of 
Trichinella spiralis (pork worm)[4]


Parasitized by 
Anisakis simplex[7]
Halocercus monoceris <Unverified Name>[7]
Ogmogaster plicatus[7]
Pharurus alatus <Unverified Name>[7]
Pseudoterranova decipiens[7]
Terranova decipiens[7]
Torynurus alatus <Unverified Name>[7]

Range Map

East Pacific; Eastern Atlantic Ocean; Indo-West Pacific; Western Atlantic Ocean;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
2de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
5Monodon monoceros, Randall R. Reeves and Sharon Tracey, Mammalian Species No. 127, pp. 1-7 (1980)
6Diet composition of polar bears in Svalbard and the western Barents Sea, Andrew E. Derocher, Øystein Wiig, Magnus Andersen, Polar Biol (2002) 25: 448–452
7Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
Specially protected natural territories of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation
Images provided by Wikimedia Commons licensed under a Creative Commons License
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access