The blue whale is the largest animal ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Blue whales look true blue underwater, but on the surface, their coloring is more a mottled blue-gray. Their underbellies take on a yellowish hue from the millions of microorganisms that take up residence in their skin. The blue whale has a broad, flat head and a long, tapered body that ends in wide, triangular flukes.
|Common Name||Blue Whale|
|Scientific Name||Balaenoptera musculus|
|Life Span||80 to 90 years|
|Weight||Up to 200 tons|
Diet of Blue whales
Single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons of krill a day. Blue whales are baleen whales, which means they have fringed plates of fingernail-like material, called baleen, attached to their upper jaws. The giant animals feed by first gulping an enormous mouthful of water, expanding the pleated skin on their throat and belly to take it in. Then the whale’s massive tongue forces the water out through the thin, overlapping baleen plates. Thousands of krill are left behind—and then swallowed.
Life Span of Blue whale
A blue whale’s age is most reliably measured using earplugs. Blue whales secrete earwax throughout their lives, forming long, multilayered plugs. Each deposited light and dark layer indicates a switch between fasting during migration and feeding. As one set is laid down per year, the number of layers is an indicator of age. The maximum age of a pygmy blue whale determined this way is 73 years.