The scientific name of the blue whale is Balaenoptera musculus. This is the largest animal that has ever existed. Let's find out more information about this giant animal with Toplist!

1. Description Information


The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), also known as the giant whale, is a species of whale that belongs to the suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales). Measuring 25 to 27 meters (82 to 89 ft) long and weighing 160 to 180 tons (200 US tons), it was the largest animal that ever existed and the heaviest to ever exist.

The body of the blue whale is long and slender, possibly bluish-gray on the dorsal and lighter on the ventral side.[13] There are at least three subspecies of blue whales: B. m. musculus lives in the North Atlantic and North Pacific waters, B. m. intermedia lives in the Southern Ocean and B. m. brevicauda (dwarf blue whale) lives in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Like other whales, their diet is mainly plankton and small crustaceans.

Before the 20th century, blue whales existed in large numbers in most of the world's oceans. But over the past 100 years, they were hunted to near extinction until protected by international law in 1966. According to a 2002 report, there are approximately 5,000-12,000 individuals living worldwide. world,[15] including at least 5 groups. Before being hunted, the largest blue whale population in Antarctic waters was about 239,000 individuals (from 202,000 to 311,000). Other smaller populations (about 2000 individuals) are concentrated in the Northeast Pacific, Antarctic waters. There are 2 other populations in the North Atlantic and at least 2 more in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2014, California blue whale populations recovered to near pre-hunting levels.

2. Classification


Blue whales belong to the family Balaenopteridae, which includes humpback whales, fin whales, Bryde whales, Sei whales and Minke whales. The Balaenopteridae are believed to have diverged from other families of the suborder Mysticeti around the middle Oligocene (28 million years ago).

Blue whales are commonly classified as one of eight species of the genus Balaenoptera; one author placed it in a separate monotypic genus, Sibbaldus, but this was not recognized. DNA analysis shows that blue whales are more closely related to Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and Bryde whales (Balaenoptera brydei) than other Balaenoptera species, and closer to humpback whales (Megaptera) and gray whales (Eschrichtius), than minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata and Balaenoptera bonaerensis).

There are documented at least 11 cases of natural hybridization between blue whale/fin whale. Arnason and Gullberg describe the genetic distance between blue whales and fin whales as the distance between humans and gorillas. Researchers in Fiji believe they have captured a humpback/blue whale hybrid.

The first description of a blue whale comes from Robert Sibbald's Phalainologia Nova (1694). In September 1692, Sibbald found a stranded whale in the Firth of Forth—a male 24 m (78 ft) long.

The authors divide this species into three subspecies: B. m. musculus, North Atlantic and North Pacific populations, B. m. intermedia, in the Southern Ocean, B. m. brevicauda, the dwarf blue whale found in the Indian and southern Pacific Oceans, and B. m. indica, a problematic subspecies, is also found in the Indian Ocean, although B. m. indica was described earlier, it may be synonymous with B. m. brevicauda.

3. Size


The blue whale is the largest known animal in the history of the earth. One of the largest dinosaur genera of the Mesozoic is Argentinosaurus weighing only 90 tons, about the same size as an average blue whale.

Blue whales have a large, long and slender body that makes it easy for them to break the water when moving. They have a smooth gray-green stomach and lighter belly, and a series of folds on their neck that can dilate four times as they eat.

The Blue Whale's tail is straight and splits into two oars that help propel their massive body under the pressure of the water.

Blue whales are "toothless" whales, meaning that instead of teeth, they have about 395 horns that grow in their upper jaws and are used to filter food from the water. Like their relatives, blue whales also have two holes on their backs, which are used to push stale air and seawater out of their lungs as they emerge to breathe.

During the first 7 months of life, baby blue whales drink about 400 liters (110 US gal) of milk per day, so their weight increases rapidly at about 90 kilograms (200 lb) every 24 hours. It even weighed 2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb) at birth—the weight of an adult hippopotamus. The blue whale has a relatively small brain (6.92 kilograms (15.26 lb)), only about 0.007% of its body mass. Its penis is also the largest of all living things and also holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest penis.[31] The average length of the penis varies but is usually between 2.4 m (8 ft) and 3.0 m (10 ft).

4. Food


Although not possessing real teeth, but blue whales are still classified as carnivores. They live on a diet that consists mainly of mollusks, small crustaceans and sometimes small fish. Blue whales feed by swimming toward their prey, and the folds on their necks allow their throats to open wide, taking huge gulps of water into the food sacs created in their lower jaws and closing their mouths. The water is then pushed out, but thousands of tiny creatures are trapped by the baleen plates that filter their food and are then swallowed.

Blue whales can consume up to 40 tons of prey daily during the summer months in cold, food-rich waters. Although Blue Whales eat a huge amount of food in the summer, they eat almost nothing when they move to warm waters in the winter.

An adult blue whale can consume up to 40 million mollusks a day. They always feed in areas with the highest mollusc densities, sometimes consuming up to 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) of phosphorus in a single day.[25] The energy requirement for an adult blue whale is about 1.5 million kilocalories. The food consumption of blue whales fluctuates with the seasons. They often have to consume large amounts of molluscs in the cold, food-rich waters of Antarctic waters before moving to warmer seas near the equator to breed.

Blue whales usually dive to 100 m (330 ft) to feed during the day while at night this activity mainly takes place near the surface of the water. Normally they can hunt continuously without returning to the surface for 10 minutes, however, there are recorded cases of continuous diving up to 21 minutes. Blue whales often inadvertently eat small fish, squid and other small crustaceans due to their hunting methods.

5. Voice


Blue whales are known as the singers that roam the oceans. Because the blue whale can emit a super bass sound at 14 Hz. And it also emits the loudest sound in the world, louder than the hiss of a jet at 200 decibels. If compared with the human scream at 70 decibels, sounds higher than 120 decibels are dangerous to the human ear.
It is not clear what the purpose of these cries was. Richardson et al. (1995) outlined several possible reasons:

  • Keep personal distance
  • Identify species and individuals within species
  • Communicating (feeding, alarming, flirting)
  • Maintain social organization (eg, male-female vocalizations)
  • Location of topographic features
  • Mark the food source location

While the complex sounds of humpback whales (and some blue whale species) are thought to be mainly used in sexual selection, the simpler sounds of other whales have circadian uses. year. While toothed whales are capable of using echolocation to detect the size and nature of objects, this ability has never been demonstrated in baleen whales. Furthermore, unlike some fish like sharks, whales' sense of smell is not highly developed. Therefore, due to the poor visibility of the aquatic environment and the very good transmission of sound in the water, human hearing may play a role in navigation. For example, water depth or the presence of large obstructions ahead can be detected by the loud noises emitted by baleen whales.

6. Hunting period


Blue whales are very strong and fast, so it is difficult to catch/kill. Therefore, at first, people often hunted sperm whales or Eubalaena whales, but rarely blue whales.[46] Things started to change when Svend Foyn, a Norwegian, tried to hunt large whales in 1864 aboard a steamship with a specially designed javelin gun.[9] Although the gun was cumbersome at first and had a low probability of success, Foyn managed to perfect it and soon a few whaling stations began to spring up along the Finnmark coast in Northern Norway. Because of conflicts with local fishermen, these stations were closed, with the last station operating in 1904.

Blue whale hunting quickly spread to Iceland (1883), Faroe Islands (1894), Newfoundland (1898), and Spitsberge (1903). In 1904-05, whales were first killed in South Georgia, and by 1925, with the advent of aft chutes (for easy lifting of whales) and the widespread use of steam engines , the number of blue whales in particular and baleen whales in general in Antarctica and surrounding areas decreased dramatically. During the 1930–31 hunting season, in Antarctica alone, 29,400 blue whales were killed. When World War II ended, the Earth seemed to have run out of blue whales. In 1946, for the first time, an international limit on whaling was set, but with little effect, as rare species can still be hunted to the same 'line' as species that are still comparable. for many.

Arthur C. Clarke was the first great intellectual to stand up to the public to pay more attention to the plight of this species, in his 1962 book "Profiles of the Future". "We don't know the true nature of the entity we're destroying," he said, referring to the blue whale's large brain.

All traditional whale species in Asia have been nearly extinct due to industrial hunting activities by Japan, especially groups of whales migrating from northern Japan into the East China Sea. The last of this group were caught at Amami Oshima between 1910 and 1939. This intense fishing activity continued until 1965 with whaling stations mainly located along the coasts of Hokkaido and Sanriku.

Whaling was finally banned by the International Whaling Association in 1966, and illegal hunting in the Soviet Union finally ended in the 1970s.[53] By then, a total of 330,000 blue whales had been killed in Antarctica, 33,000 in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, 8,200 in the North Pacific and 7,000 in the North Atlantic. The largest community of blue whales, in Antarctica, has been reduced to just 0.15% of its original population.

7. Current status of blue whale protection


Since the ban on whaling was enacted, much research has been done to see if the current blue whale populations are growing in number or are they stabilizing. In Antarctica, the best estimates show a growth rate of 7.3% a year since poaching in the Soviet Union ended, but the total blue whale population here still does not exceed 1% at that time. score before being hunted. Populations in California recovered faster, with a 2014 study showing that the population had reached 97% of its original population.

The number of blue whales worldwide in 2002 was estimated at between 5,000 and 12,000. In many regions, however, one can only speculate with uncertainty.

The blue whale was listed as one of the endangered species on the IUCN Red List as soon as it was published. In the US, the National Fisheries Service has placed blue whales under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The largest population of blue whales, including about 2,800, belongs to the subspecies B. m. muculus, inhabits the Northeast Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Costa Rica. In the summer they can be seen in California. From time to time this population also swims to the Northwest Pacific Ocean between Kamchatka and extreme northern Japan.

8. Threats other than hunting


Because of their huge size, strength and speed, blue whales have almost no natural enemies in the wild. Once National Geographic magazine reported on a blue whale being attacked by a group of killer whales in the Baja California peninsula. Although the killer whales were not able to kill this blue whale, it was severely injured and died not long after. Nearly a quarter of blue whales in Baja carry scars from killer whale bites.

Blue whales can be injured, or even die, from collisions with ships or entanglement in fishing nets. The increasing use of sonar in marine engineering has interfered with the whale's songs, making it difficult for them to communicate. Blue whales stop making D calls when a mid-frequency sonar is switched on, even though this frequency (1–8 kHz) is outside their vocal range (25–100 Hz). The release of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) into the wild - a substance that has serious health effects on animals - also threatens the recovery of blue whales.

There is concern that if glaciers and permafrost melt too rapidly because of global warming, large amounts of freshwater runoff will to some extent halt the hydrothermal circulation.[80] Blue whales rely on this rotation, i.e. the movement of hot and cold ocean currents, to migrate. They feed in the cool, mollusk-rich waters of high latitudes in the summer, and winter and give birth in the warm waters of lower latitudes in the winter. If this mechanism of shifting ocean currents is stopped, blue whales may have many problems.

Changes in sea temperature also affect the blue whale's food source. Increasing temperatures while decreasing salt concentrations will change the distribution as well as significantly reduce the number of molluscs that blue whales eat.

9. Blue whale's tongue is heavier than an elephant


The blue whale is the largest and heaviest living animal that has ever existed, its mouth can swallow an 11-player soccer team and its heart is the size of a 4-seater car. In general, blue whales in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are smaller than individuals in waters near Antarctica.

However, average values in the range of 150-170 tons were recorded for individuals 27 m long. An individual 30 m in length according to the National Marine Mammal Laboratory of the United States (National Marine Mammal Laboratory) reaches 180 tons. The largest blue whale identified by scientists here is a female with a mass of 177 tons.

A giant animal means that its body parts are also "huge", for example the blue whale's tongue is estimated to average about 3 tons. While the average weight of an elephant is only about 2.7 tons, which means that the tongue of a blue whale is heavier than an elephant.

Even blue whales are superior in size to extinct creatures like dinosaurs. One of the largest dinosaur genera of the Mesozoic is Argentinosaurus, weighing only 90 tons, about the same size as the average blue whale. Whereas the long-necked dinosaur often seen in movies or science shows, Amphicoelias fragillimus, although reaching a length of 58 meters, is estimated to weigh 122.4 tons, still lighter than the blue whale.

10. In a day, baby blue whales can drink about 380 to 570 liters of milk


In a day, baby blue whales can drink about 380 to 570 liters of milk. But do you know how whales suckle their mothers when they don't have lips and cheeks for milk like humans? Whales have evolved from land-dwelling mammals (most likely from a common ancestor, ungulate forms of carnivores, with co-evolutionary sisters, ungulates). even (Artiodactyla) like pigs and hippos). They probably adapted to ocean life around 50 million years ago.

A blue whale can weigh over 400 tons and have an average lifespan of 30 to 40 years (also up to 80 to 90 years). The blue whale is not only the largest mammal, but also the largest known animal. Their average body length is 25m (male) and 26.2m (female). The longest blue whale was discovered in 1909 in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Its length is 33.58 m.

Scientists believe that blue whales start mating when they are 5-15 years old. After successful mating, the female will be pregnant for 10-12 months. Their mating and breeding activities usually take place during the winter. Unlike other whales, blue whales usually move alone. But by late July and early August, they begin to pair one male and one female. The male will follow the female the entire time.

Baby blue whale weighs about 2.5 tons, 7 m long right from birth. In a day, the fry can drink about 380 to 570 liters of milk, consume 4,370 kilo calories/kg, so its weight increases very quickly at about 90 kilograms every 24 hours. Blue whale calves are weaned about 6 months after birth. When nursing, the baby whale's tongue curls up similar to a straw and milk passes through it. According to whale anatomist Joy Reidenberg, "this is necessary, especially when they are in the water and these fish don't have lips and cheeks to hold the fluid." Whale milk has a paste like toothpaste, contains 50% fat.

11. The heart of a blue whale is the size of a car


The heart of a blue whale has long been rumored to be the size of a car. Its aorta is, according to some experts, even large enough for a human to swim through.

For the first time, scientists have had the opportunity to study this huge internal organ, and their new discovery has revealed new details about the "huge" creature that possesses it. The blue whale is currently the largest animal on the planet, with a body length that can reach 30.5 meters. Because blue whales are extremely rare, scientists have never had the opportunity to study the texture of their hearts in detail before.

However, they had the opportunity to get a close look at the heart of this "huge" creature after the carcass of a blue whale washed up on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada last May. According to the BBC, the Royal Ontario Museum was commissioned to dissect the body of this 23.3-meter blue whale. The research team said that, most likely, the ill blue whale was hit by unusually thick ice sheets or drowned while trapped under the ice layers and could not receive oxygen.

With a weight of nearly 180kg, the blue whale's heart weighs as much as a large trailer tire and needs 3-4 people to lift it up. From the top of the aorta to the lowest chamber of the heart is 1.5 meters long.

12. The blue whale carcass that washed ashore can explode


Whales, especially blue whales - the largest animals on the planet with a weight of up to hundreds of tons, every time they wash ashore, is a very headache story for local authorities. Because they are so large, when they decompose, the surrounding environment will be very polluted, and the scent will be unbearable. But not only that, it was more likely that the corpse could explode.

When a living organism dies, bacteria and maggots get involved, causing the body to decompose rapidly. The internal organs will decompose first, creating gas that accumulates in the body - usually methane and nitrogen-based gases, causing the body to fall into a "bloated" state. This gas will quickly escape due to the decomposition of the skin. But that is in humans, and whale carcasses are a different story. Whale skin is very thick and has strong elasticity, can withstand extreme pressure, and is extremely difficult to decompose. Therefore gas can accumulate in huge volumes.

Just imagine, a whale weighs about 170 tons. What would happen if such a great body disintegrated into gas? Their bodies will become a ticking time bomb. But usually this bomb only explodes when there is a human impact. Many curious people climbed on the whale carcass to take pictures, take a knife and ask for some skin, meat, teeth ... as a souvenir. All of them didn't know that with a single cut, their bodies would explode like balloons. In general, this explosive force is not strong enough to cause death, but can also injure us. Furthermore, getting shot in the face by this stinking viscera deserves to be called a disaster.

The process of decomposition of whale carcasses can take up to... 30 years, so leaving a bloated carcass on a beach near a residential area is definitely unacceptable. In many parts of the world, people bury the body as soon as it is discovered. If the carcass is too large, the meat will need to be chopped up for processing. There are some cases where whale carcasses are so badly decomposed that they cannot be buried nor chopped. In this case, people use dynamite to see off the fish carcass.

13. Blue whales can rotate 360 degrees to hunt


Scientists recently discovered that blue whales perform acrobatics underwater to attack prey from below. They captured the amazing maneuverability of this giant creature. They found the whales turned 360 degrees to orient themselves for a surprise attack.

The results are published in the Royal Society Biology Letters by Dr. Jeremy Goldbogen and colleagues representing the Cascadia Research Collective association based in Washington, USA.

Despite being the largest animal that has ever existed, the blue whale still shows an impressive ability to perform the complex maneuvers of catching swarms of plankton. To find out how these giant fish hunt, Dr Goldbogen and his team attached activity tracking tags to a group of blue whales off the coast of southern California, USA. .

The results showed that the whales made impressive spins under the waves to penetrate swarms of plankton. As the blue whale submerges the water filled with plankton, it continues to spin in the same direction and completes a full 360-degree turn, and its body regains balance to prepare for the attack. next.

The researchers were able to capture video footage of the dramatic acrobatics using a video camera attached to other whales to monitor this natural behavior. Researchers have previously seen similar behavior in other whale species such as graybacks, such as humpback whales, but these creatures rarely rotate more than 150 degrees during a strike. catch plankton.

In smaller whales, the ability to turn and change direction is attributed to the long fins and tail. In the case of blue whales, however, the scientists noticed efforts to redirect "rewards" to this large mammal with huge meals.

14. How do blue whales spray water?


The height, shape and size of the water columns that the whales spray are very different. The nozzle of the blue whale can be 9-12 m high. Why can they do that? An explorer used a drone to capture impressive images of a humpback whale off the coast of Newport, California, USA. Usually we only encounter white jets of water spewing up from the whale's breathing holes. However, from the perspective of the drone, this water jet caught the beam of light and as a result created a very magical little rainbow for a moment.

The whale's habitat is water, but they breathe through their lungs, so from time to time this giant fish has to come up to get oxygen from the air. The whale's nostril is different from that of other mammals - just a narrow tube that carries air into the lungs, the nasal sinuses are reduced, the nasal cavity opens at the top of the head between the eyes. There are some species with two nostrils that merge into one. The lungs of whales are very large, for example the lungs of a blue whale can weigh 1,500 kg, in the lungs can hold 15,000 liters of air. Such a large lung capacity is very beneficial, helping the animal avoid having to constantly come to the surface to breathe. However, the diving time is not too long, after only ten minutes the whale has to come up to change the air.

In order to create soaring jets of water, whales must first expel large amounts of air. Because the pressure in the lungs is so great, the gas is often accompanied by a very loud sound, sometimes like a train whistle. The strong airflow has the power to bounce out of the nostrils, sending the sea water into the air, so there is a fountain on the dark blue sea. In the cold sea, the air of the sea is colder than the air in the lungs, so the humid air in the exhaled lungs, when cold, will condense into small water droplets, which can also spray into a column of water.

Above is the most useful information about blue whales. Hope the article brings a lot of useful information for readers.