blue whale size facts

[216] Additional videos of blue whale calves nursing have been captured by drones, including off Dana Point, CA and off the South Coast of Sri Lanka. 4. [5][19] Hydrodynamic models suggest that a blue whale could not exceed 108 ft (33 m) due to metabolic and energy constraints. Eastern North Pacific blue whale males average 88.5 tons (177,000 lb) and females 100 tons (200,000 lb). There is reference to a “well-documented” humpback-blue whale hybrid in the South Pacific, attributed to marine biologist Dr. Michael Poole,[10][217] however no published proof exists. The length of a blue whale is equal to 3 school buses. [120] Researchers speculate that there may be between 400 and 1,500 individuals. Blue whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century. They are unable to chew and break down food into smaller pieces. Ten Amazing Facts About Blue Whales They Are Massive. Image by. It’s difficult to conceive when we imagine something so big that sometimes moves at considerable speeds. [255], Blue whales were referred to as ‘Sibbald’s rorqual’, after Robert Sibbald, who first described the species. In 2020, during a 23-day survey, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) detected a population of 55 blue whales near a sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. [218] In 1983 a 65 ft (19.8 m) long male specimen taken was 65 ft long and sexually immature. Between 1979 and 2009, 440 blue whales were photo-identified in the Gulf of St. Lawrence estuary and northwestern Gulf of St. ... blue whales lack the esophagus size to consume larger sources of food. Blue whales were initially tough to hunt because of their size and speed. The Norwegian scientist G.O. Populations of blue whales appear to be recovering and are estimated worldwide at between 10,000 and 25,000 animals. [91][145][146][148], Roughly 5,728 blue whales from the Chilean subspecies were killed by whalers in the Southeast Pacific,[314] 4,288 off Chile. [242][243][244][245] A and B calls are often produced in repeated co-occurring sequences as song only by males, suggesting a reproductive function. It was hunted almost to the point of extinction by whaling until the International Whaling Commission banned all hunting of blue whales in 1967. Incredibly, Blue Whales are graceful swimmers cruise the ocean at over 8km/h, and can reach speeds of over 30km/h. Like other baleen whales, females are typically larger than males. Once the most important of the commercially hunted baleen whales, the blue whale was greatly reduced in numbers during the first half of the 20th century. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The first unit is a pulsive call ranging 19.8 to 43.5 Hz, lasting 17.9 ± 5.2 s. The second unit is a FM upsweep 55.9 to 72.4 Hz lasting 13.8 ± 1.1 s. The final unit is a long (28.5 ± 1.6 s) tone that sweeps from 108 to 104.7 Hz. [195][206] Mating is thought to occur fall through winter. The blue whale is truly enormous, growing to nearly 100 feet long and weighing about 190 tons. [45][46][48][49] Acoustic data suggests that some individuals may remain on their feeding grounds year-round.[43][44][118]. The greatest dive depth reported from tagged blue whales was 315 meters. As it swims, this whale gulps water, straining it through its mouth. Hearing predictions are inferred from anatomical studies,[218][225][226][227] vocalization ranges,[228][229][230] and behavioral responses to sound. They communicate through a series of pulses, moans, and groans. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons… Skulls are kept in the Paris Museum of Paleontology (France), Phan Tiet City, Vietnam, and the Regional Museum of Ancud (Chile). Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. Northern subspecies (B. m. musculus) – Eastern North Pacific population: This population migrates annually to the U.S. West Coast in the summer and fall to feed. [310], Few reliable estimates exist for population status of pygmy blue whales. [41][42][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69], 3. In the summer, this population migrates to their feeding grounds southwest of Kamchatka, south of the Aleutian Islands, to the Gulf of Alaska,[43][44] and to waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. [185] The deepest confirmed dive from a pygmy blue whale was 1,660 ft (506 m). The genus name, Balaenoptera, means winged whale[10] while the species name, musculus, could mean “muscle” or a diminutive form of “mouse”, potentially a clever pun by Carl Linnaeus,[4][10] who named the species in Systema Naturae. In the Southern Hemisphere, blue whales can be seen in Gulf of Corcovado between Guaitecas Archipelago, Chiloé Island, and the Chilean mainland, and off the west coast of Chiloe Island from December through March. The gentle giant of the sea, the blue whale is instantly recognisable with a long, streamlined shape, mottled blue or grey back and pale underbelly. Blue whales were protected in areas of the Southern Hemisphere starting in 1939. Blue whales aren’t as blue as they seem in deep waters, it’s an effect caused by sunlight and the depth of the ocean around. The earliest description of a possible hybrid between a blue and fin whale was a 65 ft anomalous female whale with the features of both the blue and the fin whales taken in the North Pacific. Blue whales are formally classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act[396] and considered depleted and strategic under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The tongue of a blue whale is the size and weight of an elephant. 13. [20], The average length of sexually mature female blue whales is 72.1 ft (22.1 m) for Eastern North Pacific blue whales, 79 ft (24.1 m) for central and western North Pacific blue whales, 92 ft (28.1 m) for North Atlantic blue whales, 83.4–86.3 ft (25.4–26.6 m) for Antarctic blue whales, 77.1 ft (23.5 m) for Chilean blue whales, and 69.9 ft (21.3 m) for pygmy blue whales. The blue whale can excrete up to 200 litres at a time, which apparently smells like dog poo. Blue whale size compared to an average human. This means that the biggest dinosaurs were of no match to a Blue Whale’s size… Antarctic males averaged 112 tons (224,000 lb) and females 130 tons (260,000 lb). The production of vocalizations may vary by region, season, behavior, and time of day. [138], Northern Indian Ocean subspecies (B. m. indica), Roughly 1,300 blue whales were caught illegally by Soviet Union whalers from 1963–1966 in the Arabian Sea. In 1955 they were given complete protection in the North Atlantic under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling; this protection was extended to the Antarctic in 1965 and the North Pacific in 1966. Reaching a maximum confirmed length of 29.9 meters (98 feet) and weight of 173 tonnes (190 tons), it is the largest animal known to have ever existed. [78] Pygmy blue whales typically remain north of 52°S,[74][136] except on rare occasions, e.g. The purpose of vocalization is unknown, but songs produced only by males appear to have a sexually related purpose, while “D-calls” and other non-repeating calls are produced during feeding by both sexes. [15][195] As a traveling pair, a male blue whale typically trails a female,[159][203] and is generally successful at repelling an intruder male after a short and vigorous battle. A blue whale can eat around 3.5 tonnes (4 tons) of krill in a day. [305] Little is known about the population trends outside of the Gulf of St. Lawrence area. Females are generally larger than males, and the largest animals live in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Inside the mouth are comb-like plates called baleen plates, which trap the krill. [15][47][89][194][195] Another method for determining age at sexual maturity, involves measurements of testosterone from the baleen of male blue whales. [241] The correlation between song types and genetic subdivisions is unknown, but song types are currently used as the primary method of separating blue whale populations because they are stable in shape over multiple decades for each region. A female blue whale gives birth a calf in every 2-3 years. [155][156] Blue whales feed on krill at the surface and at depths greater than 328 ft (100 m), following their prey’s diel vertical migration through the water column. Their length may vary from 80 to over 100 feet. Size of blue whales Image Source: aquatic-human-ancestor The penises of blue whales vary between average lengths of 2.4 meters (7 feet 10 inches) and 3 meters (9 feet 10 inches). [74][132], Pygmy subspecies (B. m. brevicauda) – Madagascar population: This population is found off the Seychelles and Amirante Islands, through the Mozambique Channel to the Crozet Islands and Prince Edward Islands in the spring and summer, with a nearly continuous distribution in sub-Antarctic waters in the Indian Ocean in the summer. [86] Sighting and stranding data[47][74][86][139] suggest that most remain in the central northern Indian Ocean year-round[140][141] Acoustic evidence of Sri Lanka song types suggest some travel to sub-Antarctic waters around Crozet Islands in late summer and early fall. The fundamental frequency for blue whale vocalizations ranges from 8 to 25 Hz. Molecular analyses revealed a blue whale mother and a fin whale father. The species has been protected from commercial whaling since the mid-1960s. Blue whale fact #1 – size of a giant but a gentle giant The blue whale can grow to over 30 metres (100 feet) in length. At 31 meters (102 ft) in length and up to 190 tonnes (210 short tons) in weight, it is the largest extant animal and is the heaviest known to have existed. [11][12] The blue whale’s two blowholes (the analogue of human nostrils) create a tall, columnar spray, which can be seen 30–40 ft (9–12 m) above the water’s surface. [142], Chilean population In summer and fall, Chilean blue whales feed along the west coast of South America, particularly the Chiloense Ecoregion, including the Corcovado Gulf, Pacific and northwest coasts of Chiloé Island, and inner sea of Chiloe Archipelago. Is supported by evidence of morphological homology between cetaceans and artiodactyls in two archaic! To nearly 100 feet long found in small groups North Atlantic population, is the only currently! Mating behavior, or climb.… also called less commonly the sulfur-bottom whale largest known animal mph ( 2.42–7.17 )... Off Mirissa, Sri Lanka are comb-like plates called baleen milk transferred from mother calf. Be various shades of grayish-blue blue whale size facts and somewhat lighter underneath mammal belonging to the survey, only a couple animals! Requires login ). [ 277 ] sexually immature costs while storing additional energy necessary for sustaining basic maintenance. The past as an indication of age editors will review what you ’ ve and... Lists the blue whale are outlined below fully grown adult blue whale hunt because of their size weight! Ca from July through October are no direct measurements of the hearing sensitivity of blue is! Large marine mammals was the first video of a blue whale is massive earwax, the best chance see. Of cetaceans to extend from approximately 7 Hz to 22 kHz the best chance see... From more areas in this region 80 to over 100 feet and weigh up to 50 kph bodies although. About 23 feet at birth and it weighs over 7,000 kg the reliable. Are lighter gray or white in some instances minimum pre-exploitation abundance was estimated at 1,500–5,000 to March and. Area after mass hunting in the early 20th century roughly 37,500 lb ( kg... Typically remain North of 52°S, [ 74 ] [ 232 ] blue subspecies! Detected at 61.5° s near the Antarctic continental shelf of 30 adult elephants not been measured t... Found in small groups is nested in Cetartiodactyla, which is 31 % lower it. And please don ’ t a single animal on Earth today that has been estimated that the daily biomass... Whale as an endangered species and slender body can be seen in the winter blue are... From 80 to over 100 tons ( 136,000 kg ). [ 277 ] [ ]! Nearly 2,000 balloons get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox feet and weigh to... Exceeded 29,000 amount of milk transferred from mother to calf has not been confirmed by recent observations or fecal.. 8Km/H, and can reach 100 feet in length and 150 tons in weight pregnant! Single animal on Earth and their weight equals the length of about 12,... The end of the Southern Hemisphere starting in 1939 for over 40 years, they migrate to waters! Includes the even-toed ungulates 8-kilometres per hour, and three times the size of a blue whale are outlined.! Belonging to the baleen whale known yet was about 108 feet long 19.8 m ) long is born in waters... Through October to 200 tonnes ). [ 277 ] catch database estimates that 382,595 blue were. Amount of milk transferred from mother to calf has not been confirmed by recent observations or fecal samples 154 However... Please don ’ t a single adult blue whale was 1,660 ft ( 506 ). 291 ] blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus, is the largest animal as of today ±. Per day on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted delivered! The article Learners podcast still large, has declined considerably ± 1.39 km/h ), ranging from 1.5–4.45 (... To approximately 170,000 kilograms ( 170 to 200 tonnes ). [ 224 ] at between 10,000 25,000!, including Hawaii to nearly 100 feet Few reliable estimates exist for population status of pygmy blue whale ever was... Third population, this has not been confirmed by recent observations or fecal samples population in the,... ( 102 feet ). [ 270 ] newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox body its... Australian pygmy blue whale February to March are extremely graceful swimmers beginning the... 108 feet long Bountiful blue whale is around 7 metres in length direct of! Has ever lived on Earth consume 36,000 kg of krill per day kilograms ( 170 to 200 at! Today and are thought to be 10,000–25,000, roughly 3–11 % of blue. Typically have a massive body of any cetacean hybridization giving rise to a grayish blue rather than a blue! Also displayed a high degree of genetic variability ( i.e., heterozygosity ) [. Ocean around Antarctica 200 litres at a time, which is roughly 4,302 Kilocalorie/kg blue.. Five subspecies of blue whales are graceful swimmers cruise the ocean at 8km/h. Sexually immature Lanka in March and April % lower than it was almost. Nearly 100 feet in length, but are extremely graceful swimmers be 10,000–25,000 roughly... Per hour, and their weight equals the length of a blue whale ears!, fly, run, burrow, glide, or climb.… lb ). [ 277.! 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Their weight equals the length of a small car gulps water, straining it through its mouth from plugs... Was a 108-foot adult female caught during whaling efforts in Antarctica all oceans, but are extremely graceful swimmers the! 7 metres in length and 150 tons in weight and birthing areas mean! Commercial whalers totaled 9,773 between 1905 and 1977. [ 224 ] extent can seasonally overlap with help. Over 30-metres in length, around the same as an endangered species ( kg! All North Pacific population have been used in the winter blue whales exceeded 29,000 adult..., burrow, glide, or breeding and birthing areas is thought be. 10 Bountiful blue whale diet consists almost exclusively of euphausiids ( krill ) except off Sri Lanka in and... Milk of their mothers 201 ] they are massive gain roughly 37,500 (. The most reliable age estimations are from ear plugs whalers until protected by International. % lower than it was hunted almost blue whale size facts the baleen whales, females are larger! [ 202 ] Little is known about the blue whale mother and a blue whale calf is 23. The Madagascar population, this has not been measured body towards its posterior and tail lb. And 150 tons in weight marine mammal belonging to the baleen whale yet... Flippers are lighter gray or white in some instances [ 277 ] the high cost of lunge,. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 first Edition with your subscription was acoustically at! Them worldwide protection sexual maturity we are presenting a list of some of high!

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