Species fact sheet by Global Register of Migratory Species - www.groms.de
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Balaenoptera musculus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Balaenopteridae
Order: Cetacea
English: Blue whale
French: Baleine bleue
Spanish: Ballena azul
German: Blauwal (There's a German version of this page!)
Norwegian: Blåhval (There's a Norwegian version of this page!)
Migration: interoceanic
Regions: Antarctic, East Asia, Europe, Mesoamerica, North America, North Asia, Oceania, South & Southeast Asia, South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, West & Central Asia

distributionmap of Balaenoptera musculus 

“Blue whales are the largest living animal, feeding primarily on small crustaceans (krill). In summer, they migrate to highly productive feeding grounds in polar waters: the North Atlantic, North Pacific and the Antarctic Ocean. In winter, they return to warmer seas for calving, thus covering thousands of kilometres every year. Several subspecies are differentiated, but in some areas they overlap, and distinction in the field is difficult (Ljungblad et al. 1998). The species was a primary target for whale hunters since the latter half of the 1800s. Around 300,000 blue whales had been slaughtered before the species finally received global protection in 1966. At present, numbers seem to stabilise around 5,000 individuals, but distinct stocks have different threat status, according to the Red List 2000 (Hilton-Taylor 2000). Today, the species is strictly protected, but meat has been detected on Japanese markets by genetic analysis (Baker et al. 2000). Currently, Clapham et al. (1999) identified entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes as the most significant threats.”
From: Riede, K. (2001): Global Register of Migratory Species. Weltregister wandernder Tierarten. Münster (Landwirtschaftsverlag), p. 201, containing more about whales and dolphins (l.c., pp 64-68)

Recommended link(s):

To gather more information about whales in general see the link collection at connotea.org: cetacea
Please help us by updating our link collection via connotea!

Feedback: mail to Klaus Riede

(Last update: 27.6.2007 by A. Tappenhölter)