Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandOccasionally seen off the western coasts of Ireland and possibly further north.
HabitatThe blue whale is an open ocean whale, not often seen near the coast in north-west Europe. It can be found at the surface or diving down to 150 metres.
- Up to 33 m in length.
- Uniform mottled grey dorsal and lateral colouration; white under the flippers.
- Broad tail flukes from tip to tip.
- Very small dorsal fin set far back on the body.
- Up to 88 ventral pleats ending past the navel.
Additional informationThe blue whale can be confused with the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus but is recognised by its broad and U-shaped head, a very small dorsal fin that is set far back on the body, and symmetrical head colouration. Blue whales are usually found alone or in pairs, although in feeding areas up to a dozen have been seen together. It rarely breeches, and when diving, it will often show the tail flukes. Dives may last up to 30 minutes long (Kinze, 2002).
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Kinze, C. C., 2002. Photographic Guide to the Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-12-06
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Last Updated: 24/06/2008