Between The Lines

Photographing sperm whales can be a challenge for many reasons, including the fact that...well...they're not always terribly photogenic. They often just look like big brown blubber logs with stubby fins, a tail and a mouth.

Making sperm whales look nice can be challenging.

Sometimes, you have to look between the lines...or in this instance, between the jaw see something interesting:

See the leftover squid arm? Note the big teeth too.

I have to confess that I didn't notice the squid arm while I was in the water, since the whale passed by at relatively high speed. The swells were also considerable, which made framing the whale a challenge as well.

I can't be 100% certain, but I suspect the leftover calamari segment was from an Architeuthis squid. From the above photo, it looks like the arm was attached to the whale's face, perhaps as a result of the "teeth" on the squid's suckers, which look like this (photo below from last year):

giant squid suckers

In October 2009, I recovered a 351cm segment of an Architeuthis arm from the water after we saw a sperm whale breach. I suspected at the time that the squid arm might have been attached to the whale and became dislodged when the cetacean breached.

This photo seems to offer some support for my conjecture.

Note: Photographs taken under permit.