By: Nicole Le Boeuf
Edited by: Poul Vendel
This speciey was named for its bluish grey mottled appearance. The word balaenoptera is Latin and Greek for
winged or finned whale while the word musculus is Latin for mouse, but is
generally translated to mean muscular.
Blue whales are very slender and streamlined with a broad, u-shaped head as
seen from above. On the center of the rostrum, they have one, prominent
ridge which leads into a "splash guard-like" structure protecting its
blowholes. Its dorsal fin is relatively small and set so far back on the animal
that it is rarely seen until the whale dives.
A drawing of a Blue Whale
The largest animal believed to ever have lived, the blue whale reaches
lengths between 23-27m and, weighing around 160 tons. However, the record for
the longest blue whale is 33 m long taken by whalers. There is
some difference between the size of the males and females with females being
slightly larger. Newborn calves are approximately 7m in length.
The location in Africa:
Blue whales are pelagic or open ocean creatures and can be found in all
oceans of the world. Because of this, they are likely found in all waters
surrounding Africa. They will come into shallow, coastal areas occasionally
for feeding and breeding, but generally will remain along the edges
of continental shelves and ice fronts. One group of blue whales is known to
spend its summers below Madagascar.
The biggest whale on the earth can consume up to 8 tons of krill each
day. Their particular style of capturing prey in their baleen consists of lying
on their side or upside down in the water and swimming quickly or
"lunging" through a dense school of krill to increase the size of
Blue whales were hunted mercilessly from the late 19th century to the middle
of the 20th century. They were given protection by the International Whaling
Commission in 1965, and since then have shown an increase in their numbers.