Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) - Wiki
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[Photo] Adult blue whale from the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. At up to 33 metres (110 ft) in length and 181 metric tonnes (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is believed to be the largest animal to have ever lived, though some fragmentary dinosaur discoveries such as the colossal Amphicoelias fragillimus may challenge this long-held belief.
Long and slender, the Blue Whale's body can be various shades of bluish-gray. There are at least three distinct subspecies: 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) found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. B. m. indica found in the Indian Ocean, may be another subspecies. As with other baleen whales, its diet consists mainly of small crustaceans known as krill, as well as small fish and squid.
Blue Whales were abundant in nearly all oceans until the beginning of the twentieth century. For over 40 years they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 Blue Whales worldwide located in at least five groups. More recent research into the Pygmy subspecies suggest this may be an underestimate. Before whaling the largest population, numbering approximately 239,000 (range 202,000 to 311,000) was in the Antarctic, but now there remain only much smaller (around 2,000) concentrations in each of the North-East Pacific, the Antarctic, and the Indian Ocean. There are two more groups in the North Atlantic and at least two in the Southern Hemisphere.
|The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.|