Contrary to the belief that whales are fish, they are mammals. In fact, marine mammals belonging to Cetacea order. They are the only mammals (except seacows) that have adapted to the underwater life and have large and bulky bodies. In fact, the largest mammal is the blue whale. These intelligent creatures have streamlined bodies that move easily through water. These aquatic mammals are many times larger than any other known mammal.
We give you a list of top 10 largest whales:
10. Gray Whale
This member of baleen family grows to a length of 15.2m and weighs approx 36 tonnes and can survive for 50-70 years. Its name comes from the characteristic gray patches and white mottling on its skin. They migrate from feeding and breeding grounds yearly. They are also known as devil fish because of their fighting abilities when hunted. They have two blowholes on the top of their head and can create a distinct V-shaped blow. They are the sole survivors of genus Eschrichtius.
9. Bryde’s Whale
Bryde’s whales belong to the family of baleen whales or ‘the great whales’. They are named after Norwegian entrepreneur Johan Bryde who helped to set up first whaling station in Durban, Dubai in 1908. They are very similar to Sei whales in appearance. Its mass can range up to 12 to 25 metric tons and can grow up to a length of 13.7m. This rorqual belongs to the same group as blue whales but it has twin blowholes with low splashguards at the front. It is an endangered species.
8. North Atlantic Right Whale
Belonging to the genus Eubalaena, it is one of the three right whales. It is also known as Eubalaena glacialis which literally means “good and true whale of ice”. They grow to an average length of 13-16m and weigh 40,000 to 70,000kg. It has callosities on its head and a broad back without a dorsal fin. Its body is very dark grey in color with some white patches on the belly. Its callosities also appear white due to presence of ‘whale lice’.
7. Southern Right Whale
It is one of the three whales classified under right whales and belongs to the genus Eubalaena. Just like every other right whale, this member of baleen family can be distinguished by the presence of callosities on its head, absence of dorsal fin and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye. Its maximum size is 15m and it can weigh up to 47 tonnes.
6. North Pacific Right Whale
The robust baleen whale is now an endangered species. It closely resembles other right whale species though slightly larger. But without knowing about the ocean of these individual whales, it will be very difficult to distinguish. The large whales can reach up to a length of 15- 18.3m. They are the only baleen whales in North Pacific that lack a dorsal fin and unique in terms of their callosities which are roughened patches of epidermis covered by hundreds of cyamids.
5. Sei whale
The Sei whale is from the family of baleen whales and is the third largest rorqual after the blue and fin whales. This whale generally avoids polar and tropical waters and prefers deep offshore waters of oceans and seas. It has a length of 19.5 m and weighs 28 tonnes. It is among the fastest cetaceans and can reach up to speeds of 50kmph over short distances. The dark steel grey colored whale gets its name from Norwegian word for Pollock, a fish that appears at the coast of Norway as the same time this.
4. Bowhead Whale
A member of baleen whale family, it’s sans a dorsal fin. This mammal is 20m long and weighs 75 tonnes, second only to blue whale. It was earlier known as Greenland whale, Steepler top or Russian whale. It has the largest mouth than any other animal. It is mainly found in entirely fertile Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters. It has robust, stocky and dark colored body and no dorsal fin and a strongly bowed lower jaw and a narrow upper jaw. It uses its massive bony skull to break through the Arctic ice to breathe. It was a heavy target of hunting.
3. Sperm Whale
It is the 3rd largest whale and the largest toothed whale. It gets its name from a milky white waxy substance ‘spermaceti’ found in its head. It is also known as common cachalot. It is the only member of genus physeter with a length of 16 m which can expand to 20.5 m; its head is one third of its body. It is the deepest diving mammal and can plunge 3km deep into water to catch its prey. Not only this, the mammal is the known to be producer of loudest sound under water as its echolocation can be loud as 230 db underwater. The cosmopolitan mammal lives in small units called pods. The females and their young ones live separately from sexually mature males. It was hunted extremely for its spermaceti which is used in lubricants; also its amberges is used as a fixative in perfumes.
2. Fin Whale
Fin whales belong to the subclass of baleen whales and are also known as razorback, finback whales or common rorqual. These whales are not only second largest whales after blue whale but they are also second largest animal with a length of 27.3 m and weighing 74 tonnes approx. An American naturalist called the finback as the greyhound of sea, because of their long and slender bodies like a racing yacht and faster than the fastest ocean ship. Their slender bodies are brownish grey with paler undersides which are white ventrically. There are two subspecies of such whales: Fin Whales of North Atlantic and Fin Whales of Southern hemisphere. These mammals usually travel in pairs and can be distinguished by asymmetric body color, tall spout long back and a prominent dorsal fin. They have paired blowholes on a splashguard and a broad, flat V-shaped rostrum. Like other creatures they were extensively hunted in 20yh century are now an endangered species.
1. Blue Whale
The largest mammal belongs to the suborder of baleen whales and the blue whale is scientifically known as Balaenoptera Musculus. Its long and slender body is 30M long and it weighs 170tonnes approx though the actual weight of the mammal could never be taken because of its gigantic size. Its large size leads to its large organs which are also largest in the world. Its fully expanded mouth can hold 90 metric tonnes of food and water but its throat is so tiny that it can barely swallow an object of the size of a beach ball. Its long and tapering body appears stretched in comparison to other whales which are a little stocky and bulky. It has a flat head which is U- shaped with a prominent ridge running from blowhole. These magnificent creatures were pretty abundant until 20th century but then they began to be hunted down mercilessly bringing them on a brink of extinction.