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(bəlo͞o`gə) or

white whale,

small, toothed northern whalewhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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, Delphinapterus leucas. The beluga may reach a length of 19 ft (5.8 m) and a weight of 4,400 lb (2,000 kg). It has a small, round head, with a short, broad, beaklike snout, and a flexible neck; its flippers are short, broad, and rounded, and it lacks a dorsal fin. It produces a variety of noises and is sometimes called a sea canary. The young are born with dark fur but become almost pure white in maturity. Belugas winter in the Arctic Ocean, feeding upon crustaceans, fish, and squid; they are often found in groups of several hundred individuals. They mate in spring, and in summer they enter northern rivers. The young are born after a gestation period of 14 months, one calf every second year. The beluga is hunted by the Eskimo for food and by commercial whalers for its hide, which is known as porpoise hide. Beluga is also the common name of the largest of the sturgeonssturgeon,
primitive fish of the northern regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Unlike evolutionarily advanced fishes, it has a fine-grained hide, with very reduced scalation, a mostly cartilaginous skeleton, upturned tail fins, and a mouth set well back on the underside of
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. Beluga whales are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Cetacea, family Monodontidae.



(Huso huso), a valuable commercial fish of the sturgeon family.

The beluga is up to 9 m long. It weighs up to 1 ton or up to 1.5 tons in exceptional cases. The beluga is distinguished from other sturgeons by its huge crescent-shaped mouth and fused branchial membranes. Beluga live in the Caspian, Black, Azov, and Adriatic seas, from which they enter the rivers. They reach sexual maturity at 12–18 years, when they are about 2 m long. They enter the rivers for reproduction, producing from 0.5 to 5 million eggs. When beluga are in the Volga two races are distinguished: the spring beluga (which enter the river in April and spawn in May of the same year) and the winter beluga (which enter the river in the fall and spawn in the spring of the following year). The beluga fry slip out to sea, where they feed on mollusks and crustaceans. The adults feed on various fish (roach, herring, gobies, anchovies, Black Sea haddock, and others).

The roe of the beluga is larger than that of other sturgeons and is used mainly in the manufacture of soft caviar. The number of beluga has been sharply reduced by the destruction of the conditions for their reproduction by construction of a series of hydroelectrical projects, as well as by the pollution of rivers with industrial waste.


Berg, L. S. Ryby presnykh vod SSSR i sopredel’nykh stran, 4th ed., part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Promyslovye ryby SSSR: Opisanie ryb. Moscow, 1949. [Text and atlas.]


1. a large white sturgeon, Acipenser (or Huso) huso, of the Black and Caspian Seas: a source of caviar and isinglass
2. another name for white whale
References in periodicals archive ?
Long-finned pilot whales produce typical delphinid sounds, such as clicks, buzzes, and a variety of pulsed calls including whistles similar to those of narwhals and beluga whales (Weilgart and Whitehead, 1990; Nemiroff and Whitehead, 2009).
In January this year, the MOP wrote to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), asking for import permits for Beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, South American sea lions and Harbor seals.
Steingraber seems genuinely concerned for dozens of beluga whales in the St.
It is Buccaneer's obligation to conduct an exploration program that will have a minimal impact to beluga whales or other marine mammals.
Gradyon said that existing studies already show Beluga whales in the western Arctic have higher mercury levels in their flesh than Belugas in the eastern Arctic.
Arctic whales, or narwhals, are filmed for the first time using aerial cameras, while the spectacle of beluga whales, gathering to rub themselves in the shallows on pebbles is also shown
Makers of the show also report the crew had a scary brush with a live polar bear during filming, saw Beluga whales and heard Eskimo throat singing.
At greatest risk are those species that exist in, or require, a limited or specific habitat range, including the narwhale, bowhead and beluga whales (above), for which sea-ice forms an important part of their habitat, and the vaquita porpoise, which has the smallest distribution of any cetacean, living only in the northern part of the Gulf of California.
Attendees were also privy to Monte Carlo-themed casino tables, a buffet created by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and close-up views of sea creatures large and small, including whale sharks and Beluga whales, whose tanks line the ballroom's walls.
Top predators such as polar bears and beluga whales are heavily contaminated with chemicals such as the banned polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides.
We decided to check out the marine wildlife at the Vancouver Aquarium in the park, and were particularly entranced by the Beluga whales and the sea otter habitat.
Nearby, get a fish-eye view of life beneath the waves at the Mystic Aquarium, home to African penguins, sea lions, beluga whales, sting rays, sea horses and many other species.