Scientific Name- Balaenoptera musculus
Family- Balaenopteridae- derived from the French, rorqual meaning whale Related Species- Sei Whale, Humback Whale, Fin Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Eden’s Whale, Common Minke Whale, Antarctic Minke Whale, and Omura’s Whale. Family Traits- Members of the Family Balaenopteridae have a narrow elongated flipper, feed on crustaceans by gulping water and pushing it out through baleen plates, have a dorsal fin and gestation last from 11-12 months. Physical Traits- The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever live. It can reach a length of 100 ft and weigh 120 tons. The whales head makes up for 25% of its long streamlined body. From the navel to the jaw, there are about 55-68 ventral grooves in the whale. It has a bluish grey color and has a curved dorsal fin. It is toothless and has baleen plates in its mouth that act as a food strainer.
Distribution- The Blue whale inhibits all seas world-wide except for the Polar seas, and have rarely been seen in coastal waters.
Feeding Behavior- The Blue Whale feeds mostly on Krill. It can eat up to 40 million Krill daily. The whale feeds by propelling its body forward toward large groups of krill, taking in a large amount of krill in its mouth, along with a large amount of water. The water is then pushed out through the baleen plates. When the mouth is empty of water, the whale swallows the krill.
Reproductive Strategies- The Blue whale usually breeds from the winter to early spring in warm waters near the surface. Gestation period lasts about 11 to12 months; once the calf is born it swims up near the surface in warm, shallow waters. The baby calf is about 25 feet long and weighs about 6-8 tons. The baby is nurtured with its mother’s milk which is 40-50% fat and is weaned in about 7-8 months. Calves drink about 50-200 pounds of milk each day. The mother and baby whale can stay together for a year or even longer until the calf is about 45 feet long. Life Span- The...