Antarctic Blue Whale

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Antarctic Blue Whale

The Antarctic blue whale, also known as the Balaenoptera musculus spp, is the biggest animal in the world.

It weighs about 400,000 pounds and reaches up to 98 feet, measuring in length. The heart size of the whale is like the size of a small car, and it consumes about 7936 pounds of krill daily.

The krill is a shrimp-like crustacean in the sea. The whale is said to be the loudest animal on earth. It is even louder than a jet engine.

Its sound reaches around 188 decibels, while a jet’s sound reaches 140 decibels.

Furthermore, its low pitch whistle can be heard for hundred miles and can be possibly used to attract the other blue whales.

The whale is so magnificent that it rules the oceans up to 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons. These features are enough for it to be called the largest animal in the world.

This post will discuss its scientific classification, calves, characteristics, feeding, color, lifespan, behavior, etc.

Table of Contents

Scientific Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCetacea
FamilyBalaenopteridae
GenusBalaenoptera
Scientific NameBalsenoptera musculus

Behavior

You can find blue whales in every ocean around the world, except the Arctic ocean. Sometimes, they usually swim in small groups, but they are generally alone. During summer, they feed in polar waters and embark on long movements towards the equator during winter.

The blue whales are such great swimmers. They sail the ocean at about six miles in one hour. But when they are agitated, they expedite to more than 21 miles in one hour. Blue whales can hear themselves up to 1,000 miles afar when they are in good condition. They are not called the loudest animals for no reason. They throw out series of groans, moans, pulses frequently. From scientists’ research, blue whales use socialization to communicate, hear and navigate the dark ocean paths.

Scientists determined that blue whales have reached the puberty stage using the number of earwax lamina put in the earplug and the advancement of sexual organs from the dead whales. So, it has been resolved that blue whales reach sex maturity at the age of 10 when they are at a standard length of 23.5 meters.

Calves

Upon entering the world, the baby blue whale is already ranked among the world’s most enormous creatures. The baby blue whale comes weighing about 3 tons and stretching up to 25 feet after spending a year in its mother’s womb. It feeds on nothing except its mother’s milk and gains almost 200 pounds every day for a year.

Diet

As mentioned earlier, blue whales feed on krill. At a certain period, an adult blue whale gobbles up to 4 tons of krill daily. Blue whales are known as the baleen whales, meaning they have fringed plates of fingernail-like material, which are called baleen, and it is attached to their upper jaws. They feed by initially swallowing a large amount of water, expanding the pleated skin on their throat and belly to consume. Then the tongue forces the water out through the thin baleen plates.

Appearance

Underwater, blue whales look blue, but on the surface, their color is more like a mottled blue-gray. Their underbellies have a yellowish hue from the numerous microorganisms that reside in their skin. The blue whale has a long, flat head, broad, tapered body that ends in triangular flukes.

Lifespan

Blue whales are part of the longest-lived animals on earth. Scientists have concluded that they can get a close estimate of the animal’s age by counting the dead whale’s wax-like earplug layers. The oldest blue whale found using this method was discovered to be about 110 years old. Their expected average lifespan is around 80 to 90 years.

Protection

In the 1900s, whalers hunted aggressively, and this drove them to the edge of extinction. Between 1900 and the mid-1960s, they killed about 360,000 blue whales. Finally, they came under protection with the 1996 International Whaling Commission, but they have only controlled a slight recovery since then.

Species

The blue whale has three recognized subspecies. The pygmy blue whale is always found in the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Indian Ocean. This particular blue whale is shorter than a maximum length of 24m and has a huge head. It is possible to differentiate between pygmy blue whales from other whales from a good view.

The Northern Hemisphere subspecies is also known as B.m. musculus. They are about 23-27m long. The females are usually larger than the males.

The Antarctic blue whale subspecies is the largest of all the subspecies. They measure up to 29m, although a specimen of over 33m was once recorded.

Facts About Antarctic Blue Whale

1. They are speedy

This blue whale travels a lot. During summer, they feed in polar regions and make a long trip to the equator during winter. They are as fast as up to 20 mph (32 kph) when the need arises.

2. They used to be abundant

Their population reduced when the 20th-century whalers hunted aggressively, and it affected the blue whales. It happened before they discovered the trove of oil that the blue whale can give. According to the World Wildlife Fund, they killed more than 360,000 blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere. During the heyday of whaling in 1931, they killed many blue whales in just a season.

3. They can weigh more than 30 elephants

The average weight of this whale is about 90,000 to 136,000 kilograms. Some can weigh as much as 200,000 kg. It may take more than 30 elephants to match the weight of a blue whale because an African elephant weighs up to six tons.

4. Blue whales can grow more than 100 feet long

They are magnificent. Generally, blue whales range in length from 80 to 100 feet, 24 to 30 meters. The most extended feet that were recorded were 33 meters long.

5. They have long life spans

Though blue whales are not as old as the world’s oldest trees, they are part of the world’s longest-lived creatures. The average life should be around 80 to 90 years, but the oldest blue whale lived for about 110 years.

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