blue whale

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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.


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 ?
Your average blue whale needs to eat four tons of krill a day.
GEOGRAPHY: Research and then draw a map showing the migratory paths of the plankton-feeding blue whale.
Previously-classified data have shown there are more blue whales in the Atlantic than previously thought - and they live all year off Scotland.
She points out that the dolphin is only about one-tenth the length of a blue whale, but the gliding strategy still works.
MONSTER The blue whale is the biggest animal on the planet CAP'N CHARLIE Haughey on board his beloved yacht
explained Brad Armstrong, CEO and co-founder, Blue Whale Moving Company,
The blue whale in particular offers an irresistible lure for whalers who might be tempted to cheat.
As I write, the ROM team is still hard at work on the now-famous Blue whale that washed ashore nearby Trout River's beach over two weeks earlier.
Al-Eqab said that word has reached KEPS through the social media that two more beached whales have been found, one at the Abul-Hasania Beach and another at the Jelaia'a Beach, both being of a much smaller size than the blue whale at Failaka Island.
The blue whale is the largest animal to have evolved, even larger than dinosaurs, and it reached this size at the fastest rates we recorded.
They can grow up to 70ft making them the second longest species of whale behind the blue whale.
GWC's first effort--the Blue Whale Protection Program--will target the unnecessary deaths of blue whales from ship strikes along the coast of California.