Introduction to Blue Whales
Balaenoptera musculus, commonly known as Blue Whales, is the largest animal ever to exist in the world, even after taking the long extinct dinosaurs into account, the Blue Whale is still the champion of being the longest at a maximum record of 98 feet, the heaviest at up to 200 tons. On top of that, it is also the loudest and almost the most mysterious animal. (Bortolotti 2008)
Classification and biological features
Whales, contrasting to most of their counterparts in the ocean, are warm-blooded animals just like human beings. They are mammals that give birth to living offspring, which the parents will care for and nurse after they are born. Whales are commonly studied together with their close relative, dolphins and porpoises, all collectively called cetaceans. (Bortolotti 2008)
There are many ways to further break down the group of cetaceans, one method is through the mechanism of ingestion. All dolphins, porpoises and some whales have teeth, they are known as odontocetes. The other whales, including the Blue Whale that is the subject of the paper, do not possess teeth, they are called baleen whales or, in a more technical term, mysticetes. In place of teeth, baleens, which are plates that are flexible and bristled, exist as feeding aids in their mouths. These plates are effective in straining their food from the sea, with each type of whale having their unique diet choice. It might come as a surprise that even though being the largest creature on earth, the Blue Whales are very picky eaters, with a diet consisting of almost exclusively krill, a tiny shrimp like invertebrate. (Bortolotti 2008)
Diet and food source
To further understand the habit of Blue Whales, its food source is an important part of study. Krill, with a size comparable to a paper clip, weigh about 1 gram. (National Geographic 2013) Although both feed on krill, minke whales and blue whales feed on different sized krill. Blue whales prefer first-year...