white whale

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Related to white whale: Beluga Whale

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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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

White Whale


(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).


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye: Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9. Moscow, 1957.
Belukha. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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