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Beluga Whale


Scientific Name:
Delphinapterus leucas
Length:
5.0 m (16.4 ft)
Weight:
male: 1100 - 1600 kg (2400 - 3500 lbs); female: 700 - 1200 kg (1500 - 2600 lbs)
Status:
edangered
Prey:
Fish (including herring, salmon, cod), squid, shrimps and crabs

Physical characteristics

Unmistakable all-white color with a distinctive protuberance on the head. They have a dorsal ridge. The body is round and tapers less smoothly to the head than the tail. The tail fin grows and becomes increasingly and ornately curved as the animal ages and the flippers are broad and short.

Behavioral characterization

They are colloquially known as the sea canaries on account of their high-pitched squeaks, squeals, clucks and whistles.

Distribution

Along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia

Population size

100,000

Predators

Sharks and killer whales

Migration/Dispersal patterns

They are resident in well defined areas (Cook Inlet, St. Lawrence estuary, Cumberland Sound), but otherwise strongly migratory: they move offshore in winter to the end of pack ice.

Social system/Group size

Usually seen in groups of up to 15, that are often segregated by age and sex. Occasionally aggregations of several thousand individuals are observed.

Major threats

The major threats are hunting (mainly by natives), global warming, noise, overfishing and pollution .

Research efforts

N/A

Fun fact

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