Blue  Whale
   
Balaenoptera musculus musculus
   
SULFUR  BOTTOM  WHALE
NORTHERN  BLUE  WHALE
   
    SCIENTIFIC  CLASSIFICATION
    KINGDOM :              Animal        
    SUB KINGDOM :     Metazoa       
    PHYLUM :                Chordata
    SUB PHYLUM :       Vertebrata
    CLASS :                   Mammalia
    ORDER :                  Cetacea
    SUB ORDER :         Mysticeti
    FAMILY :                  Balaenopteridae
    GENUS :                  Balaenoptera
    SPECIES :               musculus
    ******************************************************************************************************************
    to learn about SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION ..
    go to ..
    LINNAEUS SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION page
 
" There is the sea,
and Leviathan,
which you formed to frolic there
"
Psalm 104:18

    HELPFUL INFORMATION



    SOME OF THE SPECIAL PHYSICAL ABILITIES ..
    nose opening top of head
    ( so when at surface of the water the whale breathes more effectively )

    the snout or rostrum streamlined
    ( easier for the whales to catch prey )


    tail broad and flat flukes
    ( super effective swimming ability )


    WHALES    2 DISTINCT GROUPS
    toothed whales  ( ODONTOCETI )
    baleen whales    ( MYSTICETI )




    the TOOTHED WHALES are the smaller species of whales
    there are about 65 species

    the BALEEN WHALES are the biggest of all the whales   !!!
    BLUE
    FIN
    SEI
    BRYDE'S
    MINKE
    HUMPBACK
    GRAY
    BOWHEAD
    RIGHT
    PYGMY RIGHT

    on land an animal as large as the BLUE WHALE would be crushed by its own weight
    without large heavy bones to support it   !!
    IN WATER THE BLUE WHALE'S BODY IS SUPPORTED BY THE BUOYANCY OF THE WATER
    because of the effects of the water the BLUE WHALE has no need for heavy bones

    THE BUOYANT WATER AND THE HUGE AMOUNTS OF AVAILABLE FOOD SUPPLY
    HELPED THE BLUE WHALE TO DEVELOP TO ITS ENORMOUS SIZE


    THE BLUE WHALE IS A HUGE OCEAN ANIMAL
    the blue whale looks like a fish
    but is NOT a fish

    fish have vertical tails
    WHALES HAVE HORIZONTAL TAILS   ! ! !
    fish breathe with gills .. under the surface of the water .. within the water
    WHALES BREATHE WITH LUNGS .. AT THE SURFACE OF THE WATER .. IN THE AIR   ! ! !
    fish lay eggs
    WHALES HAVE LIVE BABIES   ! ! !
    fish do not have hair
    WHALES A FEW STIFF HAIRS ON THEIR HEADS and HAVE WHISKERS    ! ! !

    THE BLUE WHALE IS A MAMMAL   
    a mammal is an animal
    with a furry body
    with a warm self regulating temperature
    that nurse their young with their own body's milk


    BLUE WHALES ARE BALEEN WHALES
    blue whales are also rorqual whales
    THERE ARE 6 RORQUAL WHALE SPECIES
    blue whale
    bryde's whale
    fin whale
    humpback whale
    minke whale
    sei whale

    THE THROATS AND ABDOMENS OF RORQUAL WHALES HAVE LONG GROOVES OR PLEATS
    rorquals can have 10 - 100 throat grooves
    EACH GROOVE CAN BE ABOUT  1/2 - 1 1/2  INCHES DEEP
    these throat grooves allow the whale's throat to expand and the mouth to open HUGE   ! ! !

    Balaenoptera musculus is the scientific name for ALL blue whales
    THERE ARE 4 SUBSPECIES POPULATION GROUPS OF BLUE WHALES
    these subspecies are 4 distinct groups within the 1 species of Balaenoptera musculus
    THESE 4 SUBSPECIES MAY INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER
    these 4 subspecies are able to mate with each other
    and may actually do so

    Balaenoptera musculus musculus
    Balaenoptera musculus indica
    Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda
    Balaenoptera musculus intermedia

    these subspecies have been identified and determined by the geographic location of their RANGES

    Balaenopter musculus musculus live ..
    in the northern hemisphere ..
    in the north ATLANTIC OCEAN
    and
    in the north PACIFIC OCEAN ..
    called the  NORTHERN BLUE WHALE
    3rd largest of the 4 subspecies of blue whales
    80 - 90  feet long
    weighs 130 - 150 tons

    Balaenoptera musculus indica live ..
    in the southern hemisphere ..
    in the INDIAN OCEAN ..
    called the  INDIAN OCEAN BLUE WHALE
    2nd largest of the 4 subspecies of blue whales
    90 feet long
    weighs 150 tons

    Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda live ..
    in the southern hemisphere ..
    in the southwest PACIFIC OCEAN ..
    called the  PYGMY BLUE WHALE
    smallest of the 4 subspecies of blue whales
    80 feet long
    weighs 70 tons
    their bodies are proportionately longer than the other blue whales
    their tails are proportionately shorter than the other blue whales

    Balaenoptera musculus intermedia live ..
    in the southern hemisphere ..
    in the extreme southeastern PACIFIC OCEAN
    and
    in the extreme southern ATLANTIC OCEAN ..
    called the  SOUTHERN BLUE WHALE
    the largest of the 4 subspecies of blue whales
    100 feet long
    weighs  150 - 159 tons
 
 

    BIOLOGY
    physical  characteristics

    COLOR
    the blue whale's entire body color is a
    GREYISH  BLUE
    mottled with paler light grey spots
    THE TIPS AND UNDERSIDES OF FINS ARE OFTEN WHITE
    the mottled color pattern is unique to each blue whale    ( like human fingerprints )
    BIOLOGIST SCIENTISTS PHOTOGRAPH THEIR DORSAL FINS
    then they can use the photos to identify each whale  ! ! !

    SOME BLUE WHALES HAVE DIATOMS ON THEIR SIDES AND UNDERSIDES
    the diatoms cling to the surface of the BLUE WHALES SKIN
    THE DIATOMS DO NOT HURT THE BLUE WHALE
    diatoms are tiny tiny tiny sulfur yellow colored plant plankton algae
    THESE DIATOMS LIVE IN THE COLD WATERS AROUND ANTARCTICA AND IN THE ARCTIC OCEAN
    this coloring is why blue whales were sometimes called sulphur bottom whales

    SHAPE
    LONG
    STREAMLINED
    TAPERED
    WITH AN EXTREMELY SMALL DORSAL FIN
    ( called dorsal fin because the top of whale's body is the DORSAL area of their body )
    WITH LONG THIN PECTORAL FLIPPERS
    (called pectoral flippers because the 2 sides of the whale's body are the PECTORAL areas )

    SIZE
    80 - 100 feet in length
    BLUE WHALES ARE ABOUT THE COMBINED LENGTH OF 3 SCHOOL BUSES    ! ! !
    blue whales that are 100 feet in length are as big as a JUMBO JET !!!
    BLUE WHALES  huge size is one of the amazing miracles of Creation !

    WEIGHT
    ADULT BLUE WHALES WEIGH BETWEEN
    100 - 150 TONS
    or
    200,000  -  300,000 POUNDS    ! ! !

    THE ADULT FEMALE BLUE WHALE IS HEAVIER THAN THE ADULT MALE BLUE WHALE
    a full grown adult female blue whale's weight is equal to the combined weight of
    25 ADULT MALE ELEPHANTS  ! ! !

    the Apatosaurus is believed to have been a now extinct giant size reptile..
    THE APATOSARUS WAS THE HEAVIEST extinct giant size reptile   !!!  
    1 Apatosaurus may have weighed a teeny 25 tons and was about 75 feet long !!  
    not big at all ... compared to BIG BLUE  !!!

    HEAD
    THE BLUE WHALE'S HEAD IS ABOUT 1/4 OF ITS TOTAL BODY LENGTH
    the upper top part of the head is called the rostrum
    THE ROSTRUM IS ..
    broad
    flat
    U shaped
    THE ROSTRUM HAS A RIDGE FROM THE FRONT OF THE BLOWHOLES TO THE TIP OF THE SNOUT

    BRAIN
    have HUGE COMPLEX BRAINS
    BLUE WHALES ARE VERY VERY VERY INTELLIGENT    ! ! !

    SKIN
    springy . smooth . slippery
    ( their skin feels very very warm and wet and very soft  to a human petting one ! ! ! )
    BLUE WHALES HAVE AN AMAZING HIGHLY DEVELOPED SENSE OF TOUCH   ! ! !

    BLOWHOLES
    BLUE WHALES NOSTRILS ARE CALLED BLOWHOLES
    2 blowholes
    located on top of head
    STRONG STRONG VALVE MUSCLES OPEN AND CLOSE THE BLOWHOLES
    surrounded on 3 sides by raised ridge called SPLASH GUARD
    BREATHE THROUGH BLOWHOLES
    pull fresh air in
    push stale air out

    NASAL PASSAGE
    the blue whale has very short nasal passage
    THE SHORT LENGTH OF THE PASSAGE ALLOWS FOR A SUPER FAST BREATHING PROCESS !

    SENSE OF SMELL
    blue whales have a super super great sense of smell
    BLUE WHALES ARE EVEN ABLE TO SMELL ALGAE   ! ! !
    being able to smell algae helps them to locate KRILL   ! ! !
    ( because krill EAT algae )

    WOW !!!

    SPOUT
    THE SPOUT OF THE BLUE WHALE IS A TALL COLUMN OF EXHALED VAPOR
    the blue whale produces this cloud of vapor when it exhales
    THE VAPOR IS AIR AND WATER COMBINED
    sometimes it has mucus in it
    the blue whale's spout is distinctive
    20 FEET TALL
    STRAIGHT LIKE A COLUMN
    the spout of the blue whale is also called the spray or the blow
    THE SPOUT LOOKS MISTY BECAUSE THE STEAMY COMPRESSED AIR IS EXHALED INTO THE COLDER
    AIR OF THE ATMOSPHERE
    ( like human breath into the air on a cold day )
    ALSO CONTAINS A BIT OF SEAWATER THAT COLLECTS IN AIR PASSAGES

    MOUTH
    A BLUE WHALE'S MOUTH IS HUGE  ! ! !
    the blue whale's mouth is 20 feet wide
    THE LARGEST extinct giant reptile THAT may have LIVED COULD WALK INSIDE THE MOUTH OF THE BLUE WHALE  ! ! !

    TONGUE
    THE BLUE WHALE'S TONGUE WEIGHS AS MUCH AS AN ADULT MALE ELEPHANT
    blue whales swallow their food whole
    KRILL AND CRUSTACEANS ARE SO TEENY TINY THAT BLUE WHALES DO NOT NEED TO CHEW THEM  !
    THE BLUE WHALE has BALEEN PLATES INSTEAD OF TEETH   !!!!

    BALEEN PLATES
    BLUE WHALES HAVE  260 - 400 BALEEN PLATES ON EACH SIDE OF THEIR MOUTHS
    the baleen plates are black in color
    they grow from each side of the upper jaw
    ( where teeth would be if the blue whale had teeth )
    the inside upper part of the mouth is called the upper palate

    THE BALEEN PLATES ARE
    about 20 inches long towards the front of the mouth
    and
    about 40 inches long towards the back of the mouth
    EACH PLATE IS
    22 inches wide
    and
    1 inch thick
    THE BALEEN PLATES ARE MADE OF KERATIN
    ( keratin is just like human fingernails )
    except that the texture of baleen is not smooth like human fingernails
    baleen are fibrous
    THE PLATES FRAY AT THE ENDS INTO
    fine . brushy . bushy  HAIRS
    THE BUSHY HAIRS ARE
    inside the mouth
    close to the tongue
    these bushy hair fibers act as a filter to hold food in

    EYES
    BLUE WHALES HAVE BEAUTIFUL beautiful BEAUTIFUL beautiful EYES
    ( a blue whale looks at a human right in the eyes ..
    the look is very deep and intense .. the look is like searching ..
    a blue whale looks at a human as though you are known to this amazing being ..
    it is then really obvious that these amazing animals are just so much more
    than humans seem to think they are  ..
    this look is something much more than the way a human looks at another human that they know personally )
    it is said that " the eyes are the windows to the soul " ..
    based on the depth and intensity of a blue whale's gaze ..
    these amazing animals must be even more beautiful on the inside than they are on the outside

    BLUE WHALES BEAUTIFUL EYES ARE ENORMOUS
    a blue whale's eye is as big as a COFFEE CUP    ! ! !
    BLUE WHALE'S EYES ARE A DARK DARK GREYISH COLOR
    blue whale's pupils are huge and very expressive !
    blue whales have great great great EYESIGHT    ! ! !

    EARS
    THE BLUE WHALE'S EARS ARE LOCATED ON THE SIDES OF THEIR HEADS
    each ear opening is a few inches behind each eye
    THE BLUE WHALE'S EARS ARE SURFACE EARS THAT DO NOT PROTRUDE FROM THE HEAD
    the ears are about the size of a pencil eraser - about 1/4 of an inch across
    THE EARS EACH HAVE A PROTECTIVE MEMBRANE COVERING
    the covering keeps water from getting in their ears

    HEARING
    deep water does not have much light
    SEEING IS DIFFICULT
    blue whales have a very highly developed sense of hearing
    THE BLUE WHALE'S HEARING IS ASTOUNDING  ! ! !
    blue whales can determine the precise direction that a sound is coming from  ! ! !

    THROAT GROOVES
    BLUE WHALES ARE RORQUAL WHALES
    rorqual blue whales have pleated throat grooves
    THESE GROOVES EXTEND FROM THE BLUE WHALE'S THROAT TO THE NAVEL OR BELLY BUTTON
    these grooves expand when the blue whale feeds
    THE GROOVES EXPAND SO THE BLUE WHALES CAN TAKE HUGE AMOUNTS OF KRILL FILLED WATER
    INTO THEIR  MOUTHS
    blue whales have  55 - 68 pleated throat grooves
    THE THROAT GROOVES ARE ABOUT 1 INCH DEEP

    THROAT
    INSIDE THE MOUTH THE BLUE WHALE'S THROAT IS ONLY A COUPLE OF INCHES ACROSS    !!!!!!!        wow!!!!

    HEART
    THE BLUE WHALE'S HEART IS AS BIG AS A SMALL CAR    !
    the blue whale's heart weighs  1/2 ton - about 1,000 pounds
    THE BLUE WHALE'S HEART PUMPS VERY SLOWLY
    only 9 times per minute
    ( the average number of times for a human heart is 75 times per minute )
    the blue whale's body has 7 tons of blood  ! ! !        WOW !!!

    LUNGS
    ( humans exchange 10 - 15 % of the air in their lungs for fresh air when they breathe )
    BLUE WHALES EXCHANGE  80 - 90 % OF THE AIR IN THEIR LUNGS WHEN THEY BREATHE  !!!
    blue whales breath in 500 gallons of AIR in 2 SECONDS  ! ! !
    THE BLUE WHALE HAS AMAZING BREATHING CAPABILITIES  !!!
    blue whales can stay submerged underwater for at least 30 minutes
    ( it is not known by scientists just HOW LONG they can actually stay under ! )
    THE BLUE WHALE USUALLY SURFACES EVERY 2 - 5 MINUTES

    FLIPPERS
    THE BLUE WHALE'S FLIPPERS ARE LIKE ARMS
    the flippers of the blue whale are
    TAPERED
    SHORT
    ONLY ABOUT 12 % OF TOTAL BODY LENGTH
    blue whales use their flippers to steer their bodies in the direction they need to go

    DORSAL FIN
    THE DORSAL FIN OF THE BLUE WHALE IS ..
    small
    triangular
    or .. a bit curved
    THE DORSAL FIN IS 3/4 OF THE WAY TOWARDS THE TAIL OF THE BODY OF THE BLUE WHALE
    the dorsal fin is usually only about  12  inches tall
    THE DORSAL FIN CAN BE GREATLY DIFFERENT IN SIZE AND SHAPE   !!!
    the vertical dorsal fin functions as a SAIL   !!!!
    ( this helps the blue whale to swim faster )

    FLUKE
    THE TAIL OF THE BLUE WHALE IS CALLED THE FLUKE
    the fluke is ..
    BROAD
    TRIANGULAR
    BACK EDGE SMOOTH
    SLIGHT MIDDLE NOTCH
    the tail fluke is 25 feet wide
    THE BLUE WHALE'S TAIL IS HORIZONTAL TO THE BODY
    the blue whale moves its POWERFUL tail fluke up and down
    to move its huge body through the water
 
 

    LIFESPAN

    THE LIFESPAN OF THIS AMAZING ANIMAL IS JUST NOT REALLY PRECISELY KNOWN
    BUT MANY SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THAT BLUE WHALES LIVE  150 - 200  YEARS  or  much MORE ..         
    WOW !!!

    THAT IS JUST SO AMAZING ... WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BEING  !!!
 

    FOOD

    ALL BLUE WHALE SPECIES adults EAT A DIET OF CRUSTACEANS
    a crustacean is ..
    an invertebrate ..
    a small marine animal with a segmented body covered by an exoskeleton
    a crustacean is a type of zooplankton
    zooplankton are the animal part of the group of life forms referred to as PLANKTON
    plankton are two types of marine life forms that float in large colonies
    plankton can be either plants or animals

    BLUE WHALES EAT MOSTLY ONE TYPE OF CRUSTACEAN CALLED .. KRILL ..
    KRILL ARE ALSO CALLED EUPHAUSLIDS ..
    KRILL are .. MARINE INVERTEBRATES . CRUSTACEANS . ZOOPLANKTON . ANIMALS

    KRILL ARE ..
    like shrimp in appearance
    pale pink in color

    KRILL ARE ..
    teeny teeny tiny in size - usually about 2 1/2 inches long - may be up to 3 inches long


    KRILL LIVE IN ALL THE OCEANS OF THE WORLD
    there are at least 86 species of krill throughout the world
    KRILL BELONG TO THE ORDER Euphausiacea

    krill classification ..
    KINGDOM ..     Animalia
    Phylum ..         Arthropoda
    Sub Phylum .. Crustacea
    Class ..             Malacostraca
    Order ..             Euphausiacea

    KRILL ARE FURTHER CLASSIFIED INTO 2 FAMILIES ..
    Bentheuphausiidae
    with 1 genus
    and  1 species
    Euphausiidae
    with 10 genus
    and  85 species

    KRILL LIVE IN HUGE VERTICAL COLUMNS

    there are 7 species of krill in the southern ocean waters around ANTARCTICA
    THE MOST COMMON SPECIES IS CALLED THE  ANTARCTIC KRILL
    Euphausia superba

    THE MOST COMMON SPECIES IN THE NORTHERN OCEANS IS CALLED THE NORTHERN KRILL
    Meganyctiphanes norvegica

    THE MOST COMMON SPECIES IN THE MIDDLE LATITUDE OCEANS IS CALLED THE PACIFIC KRILL
    Euphausia pacifica

    THE MOST COMMON SPECIES IN THE TROPICAL OCEANS IS CALLED THE TROPICS KRILL
    Nyctiphanes simplex


    THE COLD WATERS AROUND THE ARCTIC AND ANTARCTICA ARE RICH IN .. OXYGEN and SUNLIGHT   
    the presence of these elements make a great place for plant phytoplankton algae to grow
    KRILL AND OTHER CRUSTACEAN FORMS OF ANIMAL ZOOPLANKTON
    EAT PLANT PHYTOPLANKTON ALGAE

    there is at least 20 % more blue whale food in the cold polar waters of the Earth
    than in the warm tropic waters of the Earth

    IT IS ESTIMATED THAT A  75 - 80  TON BLUE WHALE NEEDS
    1.5  MILLION CALORIES A DAY TO LIVE   ! ! !

    at the summer polar feeding grounds
    Blue Whales will eat about 3 million calories each day   !!!

    3 MILLION CALORIES OF KRILL IS ABOUT  4  TONS IN WEIGHT or ABOUT  8000  POUNDS   
    this is about  12,000  vegetable patties and buns   ! ! !   WOW    !!!!!

    4 TONS OF KRILL ARE ABOUT  40  MILLION KRILL
    that means blue whales eat about  40  million individual krill each day  ! ! !

    IT WOULD TAKE  10  MILLION KRILL TO FILL A LARGE CONSTRUCTION TRUCK
    so A BLUE WHALE EATS  4  TRUCK LOADS OF KRILL A DAY   ! ! !

    WOW O WOW!!!

    the blue whale will store the nutrients and energy obtained from krill as fat blubber
    to get nutrients from for the rest of the year   !!
    DURING THE MIGRATION TIME .. BLUE WHALES EAT VERY LITTLE ..
    SO THEY REALLY NEED THE STORED NUTRIENTS  

    blue whales can feed throughout their range  .. in any waters of the world
    POLAR . TEMPERATE  . TROPICAL

    BLUE WHALES CAN EAT ALL YEAR
    they fast only because they have difficulty finding food during the winter spent in the warm waters
    of the tropics of the hemisphere that they live in

    THE MAIN FEEDING SEASON OF THE BLUE WHALE IS THE SUMMER TIME
    of the hemisphere that they live in



    THE WORLD'S LARGEST ANIMAL EATS ONE OF THE WORLD'S SMALLEST ANIMALS  ! !! !
 
 
THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN THE WORLD CANNOT
ALWAYS BE SEEN
OR EVEN TOUCHED
SOMETIMES THEY MUST BE FELT WITH THE HEART
Helen Keller
Look at GOD's Creation
and
you will see HIM
everywhere
you look
 
" And the LORD commanded the fish "
Jonah 2:10
 

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