Return to the Mammalia Index

Whale (Blue)
Balaenoptera musculus

Class  

Mammals

Whale (Blue)

Range  

Blue whales are found in all the oceans of the world.

Habitat  

They spend the winters in temperate and subtropical areas, then they migrate to the polar regions in the spring and summer.

Body Traits  

The blue whale is the largest animal in the world. They measure between 70-100 feet long and weigh as much as 150 tons (300,000 pounds). Their heart alone can weigh 2,000 pounds. Blue whales do not have teeth. They are baleen whales. This means that they have up to 400 stiff, baleen plates that hang from their upper jaws that act as a filter.

Habits  

Blue whales swim 14 mph and can go faster. They can dive to deeper than 1,000 feet, but feed in less than 30 feet of water. They can stay underwater from 10 - 20 minutes. They travel alone or in small groups.

Diet  

The whale gulps in a giant mouthful of water and krill (a tiny shrimp-like animal) and presses their huge tongue against the plates pushing out all the water and keeping the krill. They do this over and over and in this way blue whales eat as much as 4 tons (8,000 pounds) of krill a day.

Predators  

Their only real predator is man.

Reproduction  

Females are pregnant for 12 months (gestation) and have 1 calf. They will not have another for 2-3 years.

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status  

The blue whale is thought to be able to live 80 years. They are listed as endangered.


Whale (Blue)

Classification  

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Species: Balaenoptera musculus

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