We hope that each of you, our readers, will greatly appreciate and enjoy this article about these 5 Notable Species of Norway. It was certainly a great pleasure for us to put together the information for you. May it provide you with both education and increased awareness.
To be certain, though, these few species represent only a small percentage of the wonders to be found here. We do feel, however, that they serve as good examples of those marvels. For other such wonders throughout the world, you need only turn to our other articles.
- Leading off this article about these 5 Notable Species of Norway comes the impressive wonder of the seas named the Orca.
- The term applied to it names an unforgettable species of toothed whale that many refer to the species as killer whales. This breathtakingly beautiful, but deadly, marvel of Nature also forms the largest extant species of the oceanic dolphin family.
- The powerful creature thus remains regarded as an apex predator in every ocean, much like the Great White Shark. Due to various reasons related to its movements, the IUCN currently lists its conservation status as Data Insufficient.
- That highly uncertain status appears on the organization’s Red List of Threatened Species. This also occurs because many scientists believe that the behavior of various local populations may indicate the existence of two or more subspecies of Orca.
- Nonetheless, many individuals currently believe this magnificent creature to be facing various threats to its continued existence. Lamentably, one of these perils continues to be that of becoming an accidental bycatch in commercial fishing.
- Another threat, however, continues to be the danger of encounters with boats. That holds true of both fishing and recreational forms. Its greatest threat, however, most likely comes from the tragic ongoing effects of climate change.
Orca Physical Description
Perhaps most notably, the adult Orca possesses a very distinctive color pattern. and is therefore rarely confused with any other creature, even at a distance. Typically, the animal presents black on the back with sides and chest a bright white in color.
This animal also displays a white patch present behind and above the eye. Its body shape is heavy and robust. A small degree of sexual dimorphism exists as well. The male Orca averages between 20-26 ft (6-8 m) in length, and about 12,000 lb (5,443 kg) in weight.
Females, however, develop somewhat smaller than that in overall size. In point of fact, these reach maturity with an average length of 16-23 ft (5-7 m), and an average weight of 8,000 lb (3,629 kg). The dorsal fin of the male is also twice the size of that of the female.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Delphinidae
- Genus: Orcinus
- Species: O. orca
Orca Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Further augmenting its status, the breathtaking Orca has an extraordinarily broad range of habitation. That’s due to the fact that it inhabits every ocean on earth, from tropical seas to the Arctic and Antarctic areas, and has no known natural predators.
Due to its great range and global distribution, an exact estimate of its numbers is impossible. However, the general estimate is that there are at least 50,000 surviving Orca individuals at this time. But that number could change with new informtion.
Though the species remains present globally, the greatest concentrations exist in higher latitudes and coastal regions. The largest population concentration also lives in the region of the Antarctic. This fact often surprises those new to knowledge of it.
Sometimes referred to as the wolves of the sea, the Orca typically hunts in packs. Its favorite prey varies rather greatly, with specialization occurring between local populations. Overall, its food primarily consists of fish, birds, and various marine mammals.
That includes species such as baleen whales, other toothed whales, seals, sea lions, walruses, and at times sea otters. In addition, in the wild, the majority of Orca specimens observed appear to live as long as 90 years. In captivity, sadly, individuals die much younger.
Fin Whale Facts
- The species appearing second in this article about these 5 Notable Species of Norway is the enormous creature named the Fin Whale.
- This magnificent work of Nature and evolution most frequently goes by the common name in most of it natural range. It also goes by the alternate name of the common rorqual and the finback whale. Previously it was also known by two other unique terms.
- Those formerly used names consisted of the razorback whale and the herring whale. Scientists, however, know it by yet another term. It’s a much more difficult to pronounce term, however. That’s its technical name of Balaenoptera physalus.
- The first formal acknowledgement of the astounding creature as a separate and distinct species occurred in 1758. That official recognition additionally took place at the hands of the highly esteemed Swedish botanist and zoologist, Carl Linnaeus.
- Regrettably, like many of its brethren, humans once hunted this mammoth of the seas mercilessly. Due to the actions of humans, its population plummeted. Thankfully, though, the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on hunting of it.
- Following this action, its numbers slowly rebounded, though its numbers still lag far behind the original. Current estimates now place its global population at between 100,000 and 119,000. The IUCN, therefore, now lists the cetacean as Vulnerable.
- The beautiful Fin Whale still faces many threats to its existence, despite the ban. That’s because of several factors. One of those consists of the fact that Japan and Iceland have resumed hunting. It further faces the ongoing threat posed by climate change.
Fin Whale Physical Description
The breathtaking Fin Whale quite easily impresses the viewer for several undeniable reasons. The first of these, however, has to be its sheer physical size. That’s due to the fact that the whale represents the second-largest of all creatures known to currently exist.
Physical dimensions actually vary between populations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Overall, however, the difference remains relatively minor. Individuals further display a moderate degree of the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism.
In its specific case, this trait manifests in terms of physical size. More precisely, females attain an average body length slightly greater than that of the males. The former average around 66 ft (20 m), while the males only attain lengths averaging about 61 ft (18.5 m).
The body weights of the genders, understandably, also differ. In the Northern Hemisphere, the longer females typically weigh 111,000 lbs (50,349 kg), but the males only average 85,000 lb (38,555 kg). In the Southern Hemisphere, both measurements are slightly greater.
Otherwise, though, the two sexes remain virtually identical in terms of general physical appearance. This visual pattern remains a complex mix, though. The underside appears an off-white in color. The upperside, meanwhile, appears grayish to brownish.
The head of the Fin Whale, though, presents a unique pattern of its own. On the left side, this appears a dark gray. The right side, though, shows a surprisingly complex pattern. This consists of various patches of contrasting light and dark gray and brown shades.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Balaenopteridae
- Genus: Balaenoptera
- Species: B. physalis
Fin Whale Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
One factor working in the favor of the awesome Fin Whale continues to be its habitat range. That’s because this species, like most rorquals, has a cosmopolitan distribution. In point of fact, populations appear in virtually all of the major oceans of the globe.
These include regions extending from both the North and South Poles, to all of the tropical regions. The exceptions to this range remain few, in fact. These include the zones near the ice packs at both poles. Others, though, include areas such as the Red Sea.
This wonder of Nature also displays a high degree of versatility in its habitat preferences. That’s clearly demonstrated, however, by its appearance in such wide-ranging climates. It does appear to be more common intemperate and cool waters, though.
Like many of its related species, this cetacean evolved as a filter feeder. It therefore feeds primarily on vast quantities of krill. Its diet does, however, include a smaller percentage of other prey. These include other small crustaceans, fish, and sometimes squid.
It in turn has only one known natural predator, other than mankind, of course. That’s the equally magnificent Orca. To the best knowledge of researchers, however, such attacks occur on a rare basis. When they do, it typically involves several so-called killer whales.
For the amazing Fin Whale, mating usually occurs in the Winter. The females typically give birth every 2-3 years, and to a single calf, though multiples do occur. These sometimes number as many as calves. Finally, mobile groups generally average 6-10 specimens.
- Placing in the third position in this article about these 5 Notable Species of Norway, the magnficent Reindeer does so only due to random selection.
- Perhaps most notably, the common name for it applies to a specific variety of deer with a total of 15 subspecies. All of these live as native to specific, and rather harsh, sections of the world. In some ways, this aids in their survival, however.
- The same awesome animal also goes by the name of caribou in parts of its native range, though. Regardless of the name one uses for the impressive creature, however, Indigenous Peoples in parts of its range depend on it for their very survival.
- In addition to the simple facts of its great beauty, one very special fact sets this remarkable creature apart from all other known animals. This characteristic actually formed as a unique adaptation to the climate in which the species evolved.
- Quite amazingly, the beautiful reindeer remains the only known mammal to possess the ability to see in ultraviolet light. Though still numerous, the population of this amazingly adapted mammal unfortunately appears to be in decline.
- The main reason for this seems to be climate change, much like many species around the world today. However, several other factors also threaten the magnificent animal. These include two separate parasites that threaten several local populations.
Reindeer Physical Description
The remarkable Reindeer holds more surprises, in this case in terms of its appearance. That’s because the color of the fur of the mammal varies widely, both in individuals and with the season. This represents yet another uncommon trait that the creature displays.
In point of fact, the coloring generally ranges from off-white to a dark brown. The fur further sometimes develops a most striking mottled pattern. In other aspects of its physiology, though, it displays many of the same traits that characterize many types of animals.
That’s due to the fact that it displays a mild degree of sexual dimorphism. That’s because, in its case, contrary to popularly held belief, both sexes develop antlers. This also sets it apart from related species, because it’s the only species whose females grow antlers.
Those of the mature female, however, generally develop as much smaller than those of the males. Yet overall, the antlers of this beautiful ruminant average up to 39 in (100 cm) in length. These features also attain an impressive average of 53 in (135 cm) in total width.
Mature male Reindeer grow larger than the females and average roughly 7 ft (2.13 m) in length, and weigh an average of 400 lb (182 kg). A few rare males attain a weight of up to 700 lb (318 kg). Typically, an adult also stands about 59 in (150 cm) tall at the shoulder.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Cervidae
- Genus: Rangifer
- Species: R. tarandus
Reindeer Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The powerful and majestic Reindeer actually evolved as native to a most surprising part of the world. More precisely, the ruminant remains native to the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world. The impressive animal also migrates within its region of habitation.
This includes much of the tundra regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This range once extended much further south than it does today. Its range also naturally affects its diet. Being a large ruminant, the Reindeer primarily feeds upon a wide variety of local native plants.
These, however, most commonly include such plants as reindeer moss, grasses, sedges. Individuals also consume the leaves of willows and birches. It also feeds on lichen, as well. This further makes it the only known large mammal able to consume lichen.
Despite its relatively large size, it in turn falls prey to a number of predators. These vary, depending upon the region of the world it inhabits. Animals such as golden eagles and wolverines prey on the young. Only polar bears and brown bears feed on mature individuals.
European Eel Facts
- The fourth creauture making its presence known in this listing of 5 Notable Species of Norway is the intriguing European Eel.
- This creation of Nature and evolution most frequently goes by this common name, though it’s deceptive. It’s also known by a variety of alternate monikers. These include such terms as River Eel, Common Eel, Glass Eel, and Weed Eel.
- Among professionals, such as researchers, though, it’s usually referred to by its technical name. That’s the strangely repetitive term of Anguilla anguilla. As such titles go, though it may seem odd, it’s actually fairly simple, compared to other such names.
- The animal originally bore another technical name, however. In fact, in the annals of science it’s been classified under several. The original term assigned to it, though, was that of Muraena anguilla. This ocurred due to reclassification of the remarkable species.
- The credit for the original name, though, goes to the renowned Swedish researcher, Carl Linnaeus. That’s because he made the first known official recognition of it as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy deed he accomplished in 1758.
- Sadly, however, its numbers appear to have been drastically reduced. This unfortunate fact seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its known natural range. The IUCN, therefore, presently lists the European Eel as Critically Endangered on its Red List.
- Factors contributing to its plummeting numbers include migration barriers, such as dams, and overfishing. It also faces threats posed by changes to its habitat, largely due to human activities. And, it also faces the threat of climate change, like all of us.
European Eel Physical Description
The remarkable European Eel certainly draws the attention of those who encounter it. That’s simply because it’s a fascinating animal. For most individuals, though, the most impressive thing about this creature is its physical appearance. That includes its sheer physical size.
Specimens attain a respectable growth. Like most its kindred, it also displays only an extremely small degree of the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its case, also as in other eels, the only noticeable difference occurs in the structure of the gonads.
Individuals of both genders appear otherwise indistinguishable to the non-professional. On average, members of this species attain a body length of 2.0 – 2.6 ft (60 – 80 cm). Exceptional specimens do occur, however. These sometimes reach up to 59 in (1.5 m).
As is immediately obvious to the observor, the body develops as highly elongated. That’s typical of all its relatives. This particular species, though, has a somewhat more rounded shape than some others. This trait gives the creature a more snake-like shape than some eels.
Other physical traits of the European Eel also remain quite similar to the rest of its Order. This includes the presence of small, slit-like gills. It also displays pectoral fins, but not pelvic. It’s overall color scheme consists of yellowish-brown, mainly on the stomach and sides.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Anguilliformes
- Family: Anguillidae
- Genus: Anguilla
- Species: A. anguilla
European Eel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The intriguing European Eel evolved as native to a much broader range of the globe than its common name suggests. That’s due to the fact that this marvel of Nature developed as endemic to extensive areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Within that, though, it’s range is specific.
More precisely, the vast majority of specimens make their home in the coastal regions. This does include in Europe, of course, from the White Sea to the Black Sea. It also appears from Scandinavia to Morocco. This gives it a simultaneously broad yet selective range.
Defining its habitat also qualifies as complicated. This holds true due to the nature of its evolutionary path. The greatest portion of its population begin their lives in the main spawning area. This region lies within the section of the ocean known as the Sargasso Sea.
Early in their larval stage, however, individuals migrate to inland, freshwater waterways. These include various lakes and rivers. Some, though, also appear in more brackish waters, such as estuaries. They return to the sea, though, to spawn. Each then dies soon after.
Mature specimens of the European Eel develop as nocturnal in their habits. At night, each hides in the mud, or stones and such. They typically emerge only at night. During most of its life, each individual lives a mainly solitary existence. The lone exception’s during spawning.
It feeds on a wide variety of prey. This mostly consists of molluscs, worms, crustaceans, and insects. It also consumes carrion opportunistically. It itself has few natural predators. Its lifespan in the wild is unknown, but captive specimens live as much as 80 years or more.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts
- Closing out this compilation of 5 Notable Species of Norway we present to you the astounding reptile appropriately named the Leatherback Sea Turtle.
- The most notable statistic about the truly magnificent creation of Nature remains the fact that it ranks as a legitimate giant of its kind. In point of fact, this truly fabulous animal presently lists as the largest of all known living turtles.
- This remarkable and quite impressive creature also constitutes the fourth heaviest of all living reptiles. Only three of the modern crocodilians surpass it in terms of sheer weight, which remains quite an accomplishment for it.
- The fascinating animal further distinguishes itself from all other sea turtles in another manner, as well. This holds true since the amazing sea reptile represents the only known species of its kind that does not possess a bony shell.
- Sadly, however, the Leatherback Sea Turtle now finds itself facing threats to its existence. As a result, the IUCN now lists it as Vulnerable, on its Red List of Threatened Species. The main threats include chemical and plastic pollution, and boat strikes.
- Most regrettably, the estimated number of nesting females among this reptile has plunged dramatically since 1980. At that time, these numbered about 115,000. Currently, however, that number has dropped to fewer than 43,000.
Leatherback Sea Turtle Physical Description
Without question, in the minds of many, the mature Leatherback Sea Turtle represents a truly impressive sight to see. Some impressive individuals reach a total length of as much as 7.2 ft (2.2 m), and achieve a weight often reaching as much as 1,540 lb (700 kg).
Coincidentally, this breathtaking animal also has the longest front flippers of any turtle. These out-sized appendages average an astonishing length of 8.9 ft (2.7 m). That measurement makes them the longest both in sheer length and relative to body size.
In coloring, the fabulous reptile also displays a dual pattern to its appearance. Its upper carapace typically shows a combination of black and dark gray, while the underside of the body generally presents a significantly lighter color scheme.
It is the outer covering of the Leatherback Sea Turtle, however, that separates it from all others. That’s due to an amazing divergence of evolution. Instead of a bony shell, this creature has a covering of extremely thick, tough leathery skin to protect it.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Dermochelyidae
- Genus: Dermochelys
- Species: D. coriacea
Leatherback Sea Turtle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
It must be pointed out that, thankfully, the marvelous Leatherback Sea Turtle has an almost global range. The majority of its population occurs in the tropical and subtropical oceans. Its range, however, extends from the Arctic Circle to Cape Agulhas, in Africa.
Its population numbers, though, appear to be mainly concentrated in three primary populations. Not only that, but each of these remains slightly genetically distinct from the others. These occurs in the Atlantic, western Pacific, and eastern Pacific oceans.
Each of these do share many of the same traits, however. Firstly, all prefer to inhabit the open ocean. Secondly, all tend to follow their prey as it moves during the day. This often results in it moving from deep water during the day to shallower regions at night.
In an interesting twist, juveniles typically prey on various small species for their food, while the adults feed almost exclusively on various types of jellyfish. In contrast, mature adults has few natural predators. The few include orcas and large sharks.
Despite all these facts, the Leatherback Sea Turtle is perhaps best known for its nesting practices. Although most of its kind return to the exact beach of their birth, it remains less selective. For it, any beach in the same region seems to serve perfectly well.
5 Notable Species of Norway
We sincerely hope that you have all thoroughly enjoyed reading, and hopefully learning from, this article about these 5 Notable Species of Norway. It’s also our fervent hope that doing so has left with a new or renewed appreciation for such marvels of Nature.
Unfortunately, though, many of their fellow denizens of the planet now find themselves facing dire threats to their continued existence. Many of those stem either directly or indirectly from the actions of man. We must now do all we can to protect and preserve them.