Blue Whale Facts
- Firstly, the amazing Blue Whale is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whales. Furthermore, it also ranks as the largest creature ever known to have lived on earth.
- Due to this, the mind-blowing creature is so large that it actually has a lung capacity of 1,320 gallons (5,000 liters).
- The cetacean is also surprisingly fast for its size. Most notably, the Blue Whale can reach speeds of as much as 31 mph (50 kph) over short bursts.
- But, this usually occurs when interacting with other whales, and 12 mph (20 kph) is a more typical traveling speed. Further, when feeding, individuals slow down to about 3 mph (5 kph).
- Lastly, the remarkable mammal lists as Endangered with the IUCN. Its principal threats consist of climate change and ocean pollution.
Blue Whale Physical Description
The truly impressive Blue Whale sometimes attains a length of as much as 98 ft (30 m). In addition, individuals remain capable of weighing as much as 380,000 lbs (172,365 kg).
Long and slender, the body of this dazzling creature can also be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath.
The Blue Whale has a long tapering body that appears rather stretched in comparison with the stockier build of other whales. The head appears flat, U-shaped and has a prominent ridge running from the blowhole to the top of the upper lip.
The upper sides of the body show gray with a thin white border, but the lower sides show white. The head and tail fluke generally appear uniformly gray and the upper parts, and sometimes the flippers, are usually mottled.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Balaenopteridae
- Genus: Balaenoptera
- Species: B. musculus
Blue Whale Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Quite importantly, scientists recognize at least three distinct subspecies of Blue Whale, living in several oceans. Further, these include B. m. musculus of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, B. m. intermedia of the Southern Ocean and B. m. brevicauda. Also known as the pygmy blue whale, it lives in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean.
In locations with a high concentration of food, people have seen as many as 50 blue whales within a small area. However, it does not typically form the large, close-knit groups seen in other baleen species.
Blue whales most commonly live alone or with one other individual. It is still unclear to humans how long traveling pairs stay together.
In addition, individuals feed almost exclusively on krill, though some also take small numbers of copepods. An adult blue whale can eat up to 40 million krill in a day.
Finally, it has few if any natural predators. On occasion, an Orca may attack, but rarely succeeds unless the individual is quite young or already weakened.