The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

Reference work entry
Blue Whale ( Balaenoptera musculus) – a marine mammal and a rorqual of Balaenopteridae family. It is the largest existing animal and the heaviest that ever existed. It inhabits the area from the Chukchi Sea, Greenland, Spitsbergen, and Novaya Zemlya to the Antarctic. It is very rarely seen in the tropical belt. Today its population is small. Its back and sides are dark gray, with bluish shades. The body is dotted with light-gray spots and marble pattern. In the tail part, the spots are more concentrated, and tail stem is marble-like due to a great number of parasites injuring the skin. A dorsal fin is very small and located close to the tail, and its height is around 1 % from the body length. The upper jaw has 750–800 pitch-black plates up to 1 m high. The spout in the form of prolonged inverted cone is 6–9 m high. B.W. is a typical plankton eater: it feeds on small crustaceans in the upper sea layer. B.W. does not eat fish, and its stomach capacity is 1.5–2 tons crustaceans, average...
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016