text and photos courtesy
of US Dept of Commerce
What should I know about baleen whales?
whales are the largest animals on earth, yet they feed on some of the
smallest animals in the ocean. There are 12 baleen whale species
divided into 4 families:
What are right whales and pygmy right
Right whales were called
the "right" whales to catch by early hunters because they are large,
swim slowly, have long baleen plates, contain lots of oil, and float
when killed. Right whales do not have dorsal fins or throat grooves.
taxonomy of this family is rather confusing, but currently there
are three species of right whales: the
Northern right whale,
Southern right whale, and
The pygmy right is in a separate family although it shares similar
characteristics to right whales.
What are gray whales like?
whales have their own
family, genus, and species.
They are the most coastal of the baleen whales and are often found
within a few miles of shore. Each year gray whales migrate between
their summer feeding grounds in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas
to their winter breeding grounds off Baja California, Mexico. This is
one of the longest migrations by a mammal species.
Gray whales are gray in color and their skin is encrusted with
barnacles and a unique species of small crustaceans known as "whale
lice." They have 2-3 short throat grooves and instead of a dorsal fin
they have a low dorsal hump followed by 6-12 "knuckles" or bumps.
Whalers used to call gray whales "devil fish" because of their
aggressive response to being hunted.
What are rorqual whales like?
Rorqual whales are
relatively streamlined in appearance and have pointed heads and small
pointed fins. They can be distinguished from other whales by many
(25-90) deep groves along their throats that expand when they feed.
There are 8 species of rorqual whales: the
humpback whale, fin whale, Bryde's whale,
whale, northern minke, antarctic minke, Eden's ("small-type")
A rorqual whale's throat grooves.
Would you like to know more about baleen
whales in general?
Baleen Whales. gray whale calf, San Ignacio Lagoon
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... What should I know about baleen whales? Baleen whales
are the largest animals on
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... other areas indicate that their diet may be more
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whales, taking advantage of whatever is abundant in a given area or given time
WhaleTimes:Fishin' for Facts-Gray Whales
... the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. Gray whales,
like other baleen whales, migrate
to warmer waters during the winter months. The eastern Pacific stock of ...
World Wide Fund for Nature - WWF : Virtual Wildlife - ...
... whales, dolphins and porpoises. The largest of the
baleen whales, the Blue Whale,
may reach more than 30m long and weigh as much as 130 tonnes. That’s as much ...
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Student Activities. Home Table of Contents Help Credits
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Voyage of the Odyssey - www.oceanalliance.org
... Baleen whales. suborder: Mysticeti (Greek, mystax -
moustache; ketos - whale),.
These whales have evolved with baleen plates instead of teeth. The plates line
Ocean Planet:How Deep
... language or behavior? - Master's Degree thesis by
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Information Booklet: A Sea World Education Department Publication; WhaleNet a
Humpback Baleen Whales, Cetacean Regulars at Hervey Bay
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World Wide Whales - Absolutely Awesome !
... Whales (Odontoceti) are predators eating a variety of
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Whales (Mysticeti) have a filter called a baleen used to sieve tiny food ...
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like herring. They feed by
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... and maintain a constant, warm internal body
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... habitats of toothed whales. Name and locate the
various ocean habitats of baleen
whales. Create five questions for your group to answer. Do a scale drawing of