blue whale

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Related to Blue Whales: Killer whales, Sperm Whales

blue whale,

a baleen 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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, Balaenoptera musculus. Also called the sulphur-bottom whale and Sibbald's rorqual, it is the largest animal that has ever lived. Blue whales have been known to reach a length of 100 ft (30.5 m) and to weigh up to 200 tons (180 metric tons), but the typical size is about 70–90 ft (21–27 m) and 100–150 tons (90–135 metric tons). The blue whale is slate blue in color and has a dorsal fin. It is toothless and has fringed baleen, or whalebone, plates in its mouth, which act as a food strainer. As water is expelled from the whale's mouth, plankton is trapped behind the strainer. The neck of the blue whale has 80 to 100 conspicuous furrows called ventral grooves, which alternately expand and contract as the animal takes in and expels water. The blue whale is cosmopolitan in distribution. In summer it inhabits polar seas, feeding in the water of melting icepacks; in winter it migrates to warmer latitudes, occasionally reaching the equator. Mating occurs at the end of winter, with a single calf born every second or third year, after a gestation period of 10 to 11 months. The calf is nursed for 6 months and reaches puberty in about 3 years. Blue whales may live 100 years or more. Because of extensive whalingwhaling,
the hunting of whales for the oil that can be rendered from their flesh, for meat, and for baleen (whalebone). Historically, whale oil was economically the most important. Early Whaling

Whaling for subsistence dates to prehistoric times.
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, their numbers have been reduced from an estimated 400,000 to between 10,000 and 25,000, and they are listed as endangered. In 2014 the California population, which ranges along W North America, was determined by researchers to have recovered to sustainable levels. They 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 Balaenopteridae.

Bibliography

See G. C. Small, The Blue Whale (1971).

blue whale

the largest mammal: a widely distributed bluish-grey whalebone whale, Sibbaldus (or Balaenoptera) musculus, closely related and similar to the rorquals: family Balaenopteridae
References in periodicals archive ?
The team of researchers said they were excited to see the blue whale emerge from the water and then the calf, which they followed for some time in their trawler and then left them alone.
Commercial whaling almost wiped out the blue whales however there are signs they are now starting to come back.
These data will be an invaluable aid in more precisely determining evolutionary relationships of whales and levels of genetic diversity in North Atlantic Blue Whales.
Partly because of their size, blue whales were - and, in a few places, still are - prized by whalers.
This is a warning flag and deserves more research,'' said Stanford University biologist Jeremy Goldbogen, who led the blue whale study published this summer in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Summary: A rarely spotted blue whale measuring about 30 metres and weighing almost 200 tonnes made a quick stop in waters off Sydney, Australia.
Blue whales, the earth's largest mammals, were first sighted during the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's maiden research voyage on the former Charlie Haugheyowned yacht, Celtic Mist.
At mealtimes, the blue whale opens and closes his 20 foot-long jaws in under 10 seconds, gulping down around 100 cubic meters of water into its balloon-like expandable throat.
Branding specialist re-brand-ing TM unveiled the corporate identity for Blue Whale Broadcasting, the world's first and only floating broadcast centre dedicated to golf.
Blue whales were the most commonly recorded species, and their sounds were similar to those recorded from blue whales at other Antarctic sites.
Talk about the blue whale, which is the biggest mammal in the world.
Blue whales migrated early this year from Mexican waters to Southern California in search of thumb- sized, shrimplike krill.