white whale(redirected from white whales)
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white whale:see belugabeluga
or white whale,
small, toothed northern whale, Delphinapterus leucas. The beluga may reach a length of 19 ft (5.8 m) and a weight of 4,400 lb (2,000 kg).
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(Delphinapterus leucas), also called beluga, a mammal of the dolphin family, suborder of toothed whales. The white whale’s body is up to 6 m long and weighs up to 1.5 tons. Mature beluga whales are white (hence the name). They are found in polar regions and live in the arctic seas, even where there is ice. The skin of the whale has a layer of loose epidermis up to 2 cm thick. White whales feed on fish (capelin, cod, salmon, herring, and many others). In pursuit of fish they often enter large rivers (the ob’, Enisei, Lena, Amur, and others). They sometimes go 2,000 km and more upstream in the Amur River. They live in schools (from a few dozen to thousands of head). White whales make regular seasonal migrations. The female gives birth to a single calf 140–160 cm long. The color of the white whale changes sharply with age. The newborn whales are dark blue to blue; later, the whale turns gray or light gray (blue). Only the adult whales are white. They reach sexual maturity in two to three years. An industry is based on the white whale (skin and fat).
REFERENCESTomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye: Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9. Moscow, 1957.
Belukha. Moscow, 1964.