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Fishin' for Facts: Blue Whales

Common name: Blue Whale
 
  Scientific name: Family Balaenopteridae
    
   Genus species:  Balaenoptera musculus

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Size

    Blue whales can reach lengths up to about 27 meters (90 feet) long.   Average sized whales may weigh 64,000 kg (142,000 pounds).   Like other baleen whales, the females are a little larger than the males.   Calves are about 7 meters (22 feet) long and 2,700-3,600 kg (5,900 to 7,900 pounds) at birth

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What do they eat?

    Like other baleen whales, blue whales are filter feeders.   Blue whales primarily eat krill (a small shrimp-like animal. Their baleen is black.  Depending on the size of the whale, they can have 260 to 400 plates of baleen on each side of the mouth.

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Blue Whale Highlights:

    Blue whales are found in all the oceans of the world.  As you may have guessed, their common name, "blue whale" refers to the color of their skin.  They are a bluish-gray color.

   Watch me grow....You almost see a blue whale calf growing.  During their first 8 months they can double in length reaching an average of 15 meters (50 feet long) and they can gain as much as 90 kg (200 pounds) a day!

   Blue whales have been hunted throughout history for their baleen and blubber.  During the modern the whaling era blue whales, like other baleen whales, were hunted extensively.  Unfortunately, in their greed -- based on the high demand for products made from whale parts -- whalers from around the world didn't monitor their catches and these whales were overhunted to dangerously low numbers.   Today, blue whales are protected from hunting by various laws.  It is estimated the current world population is  9,000 individuals. They are listed as "endangered" by the IUCN/World Conservation Monitoring Centre.   We hope blue whales make a strong comeback like the gray whales have.

 

Citation: Musgrave, Ruth A. Blue Whale. Fishin' for Facts. WhaleTimes, Inc. (whaletimes.org) 2011

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