The blue whale The blue whale - Balaenoptera musculus is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales called Mysticetiis arguably the most impressive creature to live or have ever lived on this planet! At 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons  or more in weight, it is in fact the largest animal ever known to have existed!

Long and slender, the blue whale's body can be various shades of bluish-grey dorsally and somewhat lighter underneath.

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.

So, just what does a Blue Whale eat?

Blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill, though they also take small numbers of copepods. Copepods - meaning 'oar-feet' - are a group of small oceanic crustaceans, but they are also found in nearly every freshwater habitat. The species eaten by blue whales are planktonic (drifting in sea waters), although there are some benthic species (living on the ocean floor).

The species of copepod zooplankton eaten by blue whales will vary from ocean to ocean. In the North Atlantic, Meganyctiphanes norvegica, Thysanoessa raschii, Thysanoessa inermis and Thysanoessa longicaudata are the usual food, while in the North Pacific, Euphausia pacifica, Thysanoessa inermis, Thysanoessa longipes, Thysanoessa spinifera, Nyctiphanes symplex and Nematoscelis megalops are takenn. Then, in the Antarctic, blue whales eat Euphausia superba, Euphausia crystallorophias and Euphausia valentin.

Blue Whales and Krill

An adult blue whale can eat up to 40 million krill in a day. The whales always feed in the areas with the highest concentration of krill, sometimes eating up to 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) of krill in a single day. This daily requirement of an adult blue whale is in the region of 1.5 million kilocalories.

Because krill move through the ocean levels, blue whales typically feed at depths of more than 100 metres (330 ft) during the day and only surface-feed at night. Dive times are typically 10 minutes when feeding, though dives of up to 20 minutes are common. The longest recorded dive is 36 minutes.

The blue whale feeds by lunging forward at groups of krill, taking the animals and a large quantity of water into its mouth. The water is then squeezed out through the baleen plates by pressure from the ventral pouch and tongue. Once the mouth is clear of water, the remaining krill, unable to pass through the plates, are swallowed. The blue whale also incidentally consumes small fish, crustaceans and squid caught up with krill.

The Future for Blue Whales

Blue whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans on Earth until the beginning of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, for over a century now they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until they were 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 suggests this may be an underestimate. Before whaling, the largest population was in the Antarctic, numbering approximately 239,000 (range 202,000 to 311,000). There remain only much smaller (around 2,000) concentrations in each of the North-East Pacific, Antarctic, and Indian Ocean groups. There are two more groups in the North Atlantic, and at least two in the Southern Hemisphere.

Click here for related articles:
All about Animals
All about Chimpanzees
All About Coyotes
All about Hedgehogs
All About Wolves
All about Dolphins
All about Lions
Black Rhino Facts
Can Dolphins Kill Sharks?
Can Flying Fish really Fly?
Cheetah Facts, Videos and Photographs
Chimpanzee Facts
Charles Darwin's Greatest Experiment
Charles Darwins Legacy - 200 years on
Christopher Columbus
Darwin's Theory of Evolution
Do Fish Sleep?
Giraffe Facts
Great White Shark Facts
Hedgehog facts
Hippo Baby
How do Dolphins Communicate?
How do you find Truffles?
How fast is a Snail?
How Long can a Flying Fish Fly for?
How to get rid of Flies?
How to Catch Crayfish
Is a Koala Bear a Bear?
Koala Facts
Moose Facts
Ostrich Facts
Panda Bear
Panda Facts
Polar Bear
Polar Bear Facts
Snow Leopard facts
The Black Rhino
The Blue Whale
The Bumble Bee
The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus)
The Coelacanth - a living, breathing fossil
The Cuckoo
The Coyote
The Differences Between Crocodiles and Alligators
The Differences Between Horses and Zebras?
The Duck-Billed Platypus
The Jaguar
The Wolf
The Giant Salamander
The Indian Rhino
The Koala
The Giraffe
The Great White Shark
The Hedgehog
The Hummingbird Moth
The Hippo
The Hippopotamus
The Mammoth
The Moose
The Manatee
The Mata Mata Turtle
The Ostrich
The Peacock
The Snow Leopard
The Whale
The Wolverine Frog
Ugly Animals
What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?
What are Plant Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
What are Plant Nutrients?
What Causes Blue Hydrangeas to Turn Pink?
What Causes Moss in Lawns
How do Dolphins Breath when they Sleep?
What are Sharks?
What are Whales?
What do Chimpanzees Eat?
What do Cuckoos Eat?
What do Hedgehogs Eat?
What do Dolphins Eat?
What do Dolphins do?
What do Emu's Eat?
What do Giraffes Eat?
What does the Great White Shark Eat?
What do Jaguars Eat?
What do Killer Whales Eat?
What do Lions Eat?
What do Pandas Eat?
What do Peacocks Eat?
What do Whales Eat?
What does a Wolf Eat?
What is an Alligator?
What is Chlorosis?
What is a Cuckoo?
What is a Duck-Billed Platypus?
What is a Coyote?
What is a Dolphin?
What is a Flying Fish?
What is a Giraffe?
What is a Gorilla?
What is a Hedgehog?
What is a Jaguar?
What is a Koala?
What is a Manatee?
What is a Polar Bear?
What is a Portuguese man of war?
What is a Wolf?
What is Frankincense?
What is John Innes Base?
What is John Innes Compost?
What is a Leaf Mould Compost?
What is Cork Made of?
What is a Wormery?
What is an Epiphyte?
What is an F1 Hybrid?
What is an Orchid?
What is Over-watering and How to Recognise it?
What is Pricking out?
What is Rhubarb Poisoning?
What is the Biggest Snake in the World?
What is the Difference between African and Indian Elephants?
What is the Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles?
What is the Difference between a Fruit and a Vegetable?
What is the Difference between a Frog and a Toad?
What is the Difference between Currants, Raisins and Sultanas?
What is the Difference between a Moth and a Butterfly?
What is the Difference Between a Tortoise and a Turtle?
What is the Difference between a Zebra and a Horse?
What is the Most Poisonous Snake in India?
What is Saffron?
What is the Worlds Biggest Shark?
What is the Worlds Fastest Animal?
What is the Worlds Fastest Bird?
What is the Worlds Largest Amphibian?
What is the Worlds Largest Eagle?
What is the Worlds Largest Flower?
What is the Worlds Largest Insect?
What is the World's Largest Snake?
What is the World's Largest Spider?
What is the Worlds Fastest Fish?
What is the Worlds most Poisonous Frog?
What is the World's most Poisonous Snake?
What is the Most Poisonous Spider?
When should you Re-pot an Orchid?
Where do you Find Black Widow Spiders?
Where can you find Flamigoes?
Where can you find Gorillas?
Where can you find Pandas?
Where can you Find a Polar Bear?
Where do Killer Whales Live?
Where do Elephants Live?
Where do Pandas Live?
Where do Polar Bears Live?
Where do Snow Leopards Live?
Where do Tigers Live?
Why do Elephants have Big Ears?
Where do Giraffes Live?
Where do Jaguars Live?
Where do Kangaroos Live?
Where do Koalas Live?
Where do Peacocks Live?
Where do Manatees Live?
Where do Lions Live?
Where do Wolves Live?
Where do Zebras Live?
Where to find Dolphins?
Where to find Red Squirrels?
Why are Pandas Endangered?
Why do Onions make you Cry?
Why do Leaves Change their Colour in the Autumn Fall
Why do Trees drop their Leaves in Autumn Fall
Why is the Sea Salty?
Why is the Sky Blue?
Wolf Conservation
Wolf Facts
Photo care of http://www.pubarticles.com/article-blue-whales-return-for-the-first-time-in-40-years-1242720370.html and http://www.theozonehole.com/antarcticwildlife.htm and http://www.namibian.org/travel/marine-life/whales/blue-whale.html
Based on an article by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_whale

1 comment:

Patricio said...

Thanks for sharing! That was a great post.