The Blue Whale

Common Name: Blue Whale

Type: Mammal

Family: Balaenopteridae

Range: Blue whales always live at the surface of the ocean and are available in all the oceans of the world. The blue whale is usually found in temperate and cold waters. It has a preference to the deeper ocean waters to coastal waters. They are available in the Icelandic & Celtic Marine Ecosystems, Southern Caribbean Sea. Also, around 2,000 blue whales exist off the California Coast and it migrates to Mexico, and Costa Rica. These can be found along the Atlantic coast north of Limon, Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero. These can be found in off the coasts of Tortuguero National Park, Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge (Limon Province).

Size: The blue whale is the largest animal ever to exist, it may develop over 24 meter (80 feet) in length. But their lengths of 21 meter (70 feet) are normal. Blue whale calves measure about 7 meters (23 feet) in length.

Weight: They can weight up to 200 tons (approx 181, 437 kilogram)

Diet: Blue Whales have a Carnivore diet and they happily eat by lunging open-mouthed into dense groups of little sea creatures such as fish, krill and plankton. As food and water rush into the whale’s mouth, over 60 throat pleats expand so that the whale’s throat forms a huge bag that expands from the front of the whale’s snout to its navel. The plates act as a filter, catching food inside the fringes. Blue whales frequently attack through their prey alongside, apparently using each other to block the escape of their prey.
Blue whales normally feed in Arctic and Antarctic waters during the summer, at that time krill are plentiful and found in large groups. Blue whales can also feed on plankton or krill where there are upwelling of cold currents. They can live off stored flab when they travel into warmer regions where krill is less available.

Average life span: The average lifespan of a Blue whale is 80 to 90 years.

Habitat: The blue whale is a marine mammal that prefers the cold and temperate waters of the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. However, during the winter months, they travel to the waters of the Tropics and the Equator. They favor the depths of the oceans than the shallow coastal waters. Until twentieth century, habitat of the blue whale was all the oceans of the world. However, due to commercial whaling, they had been driven to near disappearance during the 1960s. Due to regulations on whaling, the Californian and Icelandic populations of blue whales are observed to have increased.
The largest concentration of these blue whales is the North East Pacific population that is usually seen between Alaska and Costa Rica, but it migrates to the Californian waters during the summer months. They can be found in the water of Costa Rica.

Breeding/Reproduction: Blue whales normally reach at sexual maturity between the ages of eight to ten years. Mating take place during the summer season, but it is not known much about courtship behavior. Male and female blue whale pairs have been seen together for periods of up to three weeks. If any third whale approaches to the pair, the whales may engage in strong splashing displays.

Adult females give birth once every two or three years. Their gestation period lasts about 11 months. A single young is generally born the following spring; twins are rare. The females migrate to warm waters to give birth. The young get the nursing for seven to eight months and gaining the weight 90 kg (200 lb) per day.

Interesting fact: One interesting fact is that when a blue whale breathes out, the spray from its blowhole can make nearly 9 meters (30 feet) into the air.

The Blue whale, scientifically named Balaenoptera musculus, is a mammal animal that belongs to the suborder of baleen whales. It is the largest known animal of the world which is 30 metres (approximately 98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons or even more in weight. This largest creature is found in the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. A statistics says proves the presence of about 2000 blue whales in the Eastern Pacific population that ranges from Alaska to Costa Rica.

The blue whale’s body consists of various shades of bluish-grey color and somewhat lighter underneath. It has a long narrowing body structure. Its head is flat and of U shape. The front mouth part is very thick because of baleen plates. These help in evacuating water from the mouth after a complete lunge feeding. Its lung capacity is 5,000 liters and it has twin blowholes. The flippers are almost 3 to 4 meters long. The upper sides are grey in color with a white border and the lower sides are completely white.

Blue whales can move at a velocity of 50 kilometers per hour. Usually while moving with other whales, it moves at a traveling speed of 20 kilometers per hour. At the time of feeding, they slow down their speed to 5 kilometers per hour.

Blue whales usually live alone. Sometimes they are seen with other individual. But no one can say how long they will be together. At the place where food is available at a high concentration, about 50 blue whales have been seen over a small area. They do not form any large group seen in other species.

Mating period of the Blue whales starts in late autumn and continues till the end of winter. Little information has been found about mating behavior or breeding grounds. Female whales usually give birth once in every two to three years, at the start of the winter after a mating period of 10 to 12 months. The calf weighs almost 2.5 metric tons and is around 7 meters long. Blue whale calves drink about 380–570 liters of milk daily. The calf becomes double in size within six months. It becomes sexually matured usually at five to ten years of age.

Before the beginning of the twentieth century, Blue whales were abundant in almost all the oceans. For over a century, they were hunted at a huge rate. This reckless hunting leads to their extinction. A report in 2002 said that there were about 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales all over the world. Now the Blue whales are seen very rare. To save this largest creature, whaling has been banned permanently. But some of the people are carrying out this business as it is comparatively more profitable than others. If anybody is found related to this forbidden work, he/ she is taken to the jail by the law enforcement force of the state. The try to save the Blue whale is really praiseworthy.

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