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constantly accumulating in the Polar world, and, destroying the balance of nature, would ultimately endanger the existence of man over the whole surface of the globe.
ARCTIC MARINE ANIMALS. Populousness of the Arctic Seas. - The Greenland Whale. — The Fin Whales. — The Narwhal. –
The Beluga, or White Dolphin.-The Black Dolphin.--His wholesale Massacre on the Faeroe Islands. --The Orc, or Grampus.-The Seals.--The Walrus.-Its acute Smell.--History of a young Walrus.--Parental Affection.---The Polar Bear. --His Sagacity.--Hibernation of the She-bear.Sea-birds. THE vast multitudes of animated beings which people the Polar Seas form d a remarkable contrast to the nakedness of their bleak and desolate shores. The colder surface-waters almost perpetually exposed to a chilly air, and frequently covered, even in summer, with floating ice, are indeed unfavorable to the development of organic life; but this adverse influence is modified by the higher temperature which constantly prevails at a greater depth; for, contrary to what takes place in the equatorial seas, we find in the Polar Ocean an increase of temperature from the surface downward, in consequence of the warmer under-currents, flowing from the south northward, and passing beneath the cold waters of the superficial Arctic current.
Thus the severity of the Polar winter remains unfelt at a greater depth of the sea, where myriads of creatures find a secure retreat against the frost, and whence they emerge during the long summer's day, either to line the shores or to ascend the broad rivers of the Arctic world. Between the parallels of 74° and 80° Scoresby observed that the color of the Greenland sea varies from the purest ultramarine to olive green, and from crystalline transparency to striking opacity--appearances which are not transitory, but permanent. This green semi-opaque water, whose position varies with the currents, often forming isolated stripes, and sometimes spreading over two or three degrees of latitude, mainly owes its singular aspect to small medusæ and nudibranchiate molluscs. It is calculated to form one-fourth part of the surface of the sea between the above-mentioned parallels, so that many thousands of square miles are absolutely teeming with life.
On the coast of Greenland, where the waters are so exceedingly clear that the bottom and every object upon it are plainly visible even at a depth of eighty fathoms, the ground is seen covered with gigantic tangles, which, together with the animal world circulating among their fronds, remind the spectator of the coral-reefs of the tropical ocean. Nullipores, mussels, alcyonians, sertularians, ascidians, and a variety of other sessile animals, incrust every stone or fill every hollow or crevice of the rocky ground. A dead seal or fish thrown into the sea is soon converted into a skeleton by the myriads of small crustaceans which infest these northern waters, and, like the ants in the equatorial forests, perform the part of scavengers of the deep.
Thus we find an exuberance of life, in its smaller and smallest forms, peopling the Arctic waters, and affording nourishment to å variety of strange and bulky creatures-cetaceans, walruses, and seals—which annually attract thousands of adventuroựs seamen to the icy ocean.
Of these sea-mammalians, the most important to civilized man is undoubtedly the Greenland whale (Balona mysticetus), or smooth-back, thus called from its having no dorsal fin. Formerly these whales were harpooned in considerable numbers in the Icelandic waters, or in the fiords of Spitzbergen and Danish Greenland ; then Davis's Straits became the favorite fishing-grounds; and more recently the inlets and various channels to the east of Baffin's Bay have been invaded ; while, on the opposite side of America, several hundreds of whalers penetrate every year through Bering's Straits into the icy sea beyond, where previously they lived and multiplied, unmolested except by the Esquimaux.
More fortunate than the smooth-back, the rorquals, or fin-whales (Balõnoptera boops, musculus, physalis, and rostratus), still remain in their ancient seats, from which they are not likely to be dislodged, as the agility of their movements makes their capture more difficult and dangerous; while at the same time the small quantity of their fat and the shortness of their baleen render it far less remunerative. They are of a more slender form of body, and with a more pointed muzzle than the Greenland whale; and while the latter attains a length of only sixty feet, the Balcenoptera boops grows to the vast length of 100 feet and more. There is also a difference in their food, for the Greenland whale chiefly feeds upon the minute animals that crowd the olive-colored waters above described, or on the hosts of little pteropods that are found in many parts of the Arctic seas, while the rorquals frequently accompany the herring-shoals, and carry death and destruction into their ranks.
The seas of Novaja Zemlya, Spitzbergen, and Greenland are the dontain of the narwhal, or sea-unicorn, a cetacean quite as strange, but not so fabulous as the terrestrial animal which figures in the arms of England. The use of the enormous spirally wound tusk projecting from its upper jaw, and from which it derives its popular name, has not yet been clearly ascertained, some holding it to be an instrument of defense, while others suppose it to be only an ornament or mark of the superior dignity of the sex to which it has been awarded.
Among the numerous dolphins which people the Arctic and Subarctic seas, the beluga (Delphinus leucas), improperly called the white whale, is one of the most interesting. When young it has a brown color, which gradually changes into a perfect white. It attains a length of from twelve to twenty feet, has no dorsal fin, a strong tail three feet broad, and a round head with a broad truncated snout. Beyond 56° of latitude it is frequently seen in large shoals, particularly near the estuaries of the large Siberian and North American rivers,
troop of belugas diving out of the dark waves of the Arctic Sea is said to afford
a magnificent spectacle. Their white color appears dazzling, from the contrast of the sombre background, as they dart about with arrow-like velocity.
The black dolphin (Globicephalus globiceps) is likewise very common in the Arctic seas, both beyond Bering's Straits and between Greenland and Spitz
length of twenty-four feet, and is about ten feet in circumference. The skin, like that of the dolphin tribe in general, is smooth, resembling oiled silk; the color a bluish-black on the back, and generally whitish on the belly; the blubber is three or four inches thick.
The full-grown have generally twenty-two or twenty-four teeth in each jaw; and when the mouth is shut, the teeth lock between one another, like the teeth of a trap. The dorsal fin is about fifteen inches high, the tail five feet broad; the pectoral fins are as many, long and comparatively narrow; so that, armed with such excellent paddles, the black dolphin is inferior to none of his relatives in swiftness. Of an eminently social disposition, these dolphins sometimes congregate in herds of many hundreds, under the guidance of several old experi
*enced males, whom the rest follow like a flock of sheep-a property from which the animal is called in Shetland the “ ca’ing whale.” No cetacean strands more frequently than the black dolphin, and occasionally large herds have been driven on the shores of Iceland, Norway, and the Orkney, Shetland and Faeroe islands, where their capture is hailed as a godsend. : The intelligence that a shoal of ca’ing whales or grinds has been seen approaching the coast, creates great excitement among the otherwise phlegmatic inhabitants of the Faeroe Islands. The whole neighborhood, old and young, is instantly in motion, and soon numerous boats shoot off from shore to intercept the retreat of the dolphins. Slowly and steadily they are driven toward the coast; the phalanx of their enemies draws closer and closer together; terrified by stones and blows, they run ashore, and lie gasping as the flood recedes. Then begins the work of death, amid the loud shouts of the executioners and the furious splashings of the victims. In this manner more than 800 grinds were massacred on August 16, 1776; and during the four summer months that Langbye sojourned on the island in 1817, 623 were driven on shore, and served to pay one-half of the imported corn. But, on the other hand, many years frequently pass without yielding one single: black whale to the tender mercies of the islanders.
The ferocious orc, or grampus (Delphinus orca), is the tiger of the Arctic seas. Black above, white beneath, it is distinguished by its large dorsal fin, which curves backward toward the tail, and rises to the height of two feet or more. Measuring no less than twenty-five feet in length and twelve or thirteen in girth, of a courage equal to its strength, and armed with formidable teeth, thirty in each jaw, the grampus is the dread of the seals, whom it overtakes in spite of their rapid flight; and the whale himself would consider it as his most formidable enemy, were it not for the persecutions of man. The grampus generally ploughs the seas in small troops of four or five, following each other in close single file, and alternately disappearing and rising so as to resemble the undulatory motions of one large serpentiform animal. : The family of the seals has also numerous and mighty representatives in the Arctic waters. In the sea of Bering we meet with the formidable sea lion and the valuable sea-bear, while the harp-seal, the bearded seal, and the hispid seals (Phoca groenlandica, barbata, hispida), spreading from the Parry Islands to Novaja Zemlya, yield the tribute of their flesh to numerous wild tribes, and that of their skins to the European hunter:
Few Arctic animals are more valuable to man, or more frequently mentioned in Polar voyages than the walrus or morse (Trichechus rosmarus), which, though allied to the seals, differs greatly from them by the development of the canines of the upper jaw, which form two enormous tusks projecting downward to the length of two feet. The morse is one of the largest quadrupeds existing, as it attains a length of twenty feet, and a weight of from fifteen hundred to two thousand pounds. In uncouthness of form it surpasses even the ungainly hippopotamus. It has a small head with a remarkably thick upper lip, covered with large pellucid whiskers or bristles; the neck is thick and short; the naked gray or red-brown skin hangs loosely on the ponderous and elongated trunk; and the short feet terminate in broad fin-like paddles, resembling large