Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Cetacea > Balaenopteridae > Balaenoptera > Balaenoptera musculus

Balaenoptera musculus (Blue Whale)

Synonyms: Balaena musculus; Sibbaldius sulfureus
Language: French; Spanish

Wikipedia Abstract

The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whales (Mysticeti). At up to 30 metres (98 ft) in length and with a maximum recorded weight of 173 tonnes (191 short tons) and probably reaching over 181 tonnes (200 short tons), it is the largest animal ever known to have existed.
View Wikipedia Record: Balaenoptera musculus


Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda (Pygmy Blue Whale)
Balaenoptera musculus indica (Great Indian Rorqual)
Balaenoptera musculus intermedia (Southern Blue Whale)
Balaenoptera musculus musculus (Northern Blue Whale)

Endangered Species

Status: Endangered
View IUCN Record: Balaenoptera musculus

EDGE Analysis

The largest mammal ever known to have existed. The species is thought to feed almost exclusively on krill (small, shrimp-like crustaceans). In the summer feeding areas, individuals may consume as much as 4 tonnes of krill each day. Blue whales have the deepest voice of any animal, and their vocalizations carry for thousands of miles underwater, allowing them to communicate across vast oceans at frequencies below the range of human hearing. For centuries the blue whale was safe from exploitation because of its sheer size and speed. However, the species was driven to the brink of extinction following the development of modern whaling techniques.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 22.63
EDGE Score: 5.24
View EDGE Record: Balaenoptera musculus


Adult Weight [2]  149.92 tons (136,000.00 kg)
Birth Weight [2]  2.20 tons (2,000.00 kg)
Female Maturity [2]  5 years
Male Maturity [2]  5 years
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates)
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  100 %
Forages - Marine [3]  100 %
Emoji [4]  whale
Gestation [2]  11 months 20 days
Litter Size [2]  1
Litters / Year [2]  0
Maximum Longevity [2]  110 years
Migration [1]  Interoceanic
Speed [5]  29.82 MPH (13.33 m/s)
Water Biome [1]  Pelagic
Weaning [2]  6 months 2 days

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado Biosphere Reserve VI 2320468 Sonora, Mexico  
Archipelago de Colon Biosphere Reserve 34336011 Galapagos Islands, Ecuador  
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary   California, United States
Channel Islands National Park II 139010 California, United States
Everglades and Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve   Florida, United States  
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge IV 352 California, United States
Forillon National Park II 61010 Quebec, Canada  
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 177278 Hawaii, United States
Hawaiian Islands Biosphere Reserve 245981 Hawaii, United States  
Komodo National Park II 514967 Indonesia  
Kronotskiy Biosphere Reserve 361480 Russia  
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve II 20461 Quebec, Canada
North Bull Island Nature Reserve IV 3544 Ireland  
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve II 137900 British Columbia, Canada
Palmer LTER Site Long Term Ecological Research   Antarctica    
Point Reyes National Seashore II 27068 California, United States
Reserva de la Biosfera El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve VI 6176727 Mexico  
Reserve de la Biosphere de Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve 1383790 Canada  
Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park National Marine Conservation Area II 310822 Canada
Tierra Del Fuego National Park II 172861 Argentina

Emblem of

Antigua And Barbuda

Prey / Diet

Euphausia crystallorophias (ice krill)[6]
Euphausia pacifica (Pacific krill)[7]
Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill)[6]
Euphausia vallentini[6]
Filippovia knipovitchi (Smooth Hooked Squid)[6]
Meganyctiphanes norvegica (Norwegian krill)[6]
Ningaui yvonnae (Southern Ningaui)[6]
Nyctiphanes simplex[8]
Thysanoessa inermis[7]
Thysanoessa longicaudata[6]
Thysanoessa longipes[7]
Thysanoessa raschii (Arctic krill)[6]
Thysanoessa spinifera[8]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Atheresthes stomias (Turbot)1
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Minke Whale)3
Balaenoptera edeni (Bryde's whale)1
Balaenoptera physalus (Fin Whale)3
Bathyraja interrupta (Sandpaper skate)3
Bathyraja trachura (Roughtail skate)1
Bellator gymnostethus (Nakedbelly searobin)1
Brachyramphus marmoratus (Marbled Murrelet)2
Caulolatilus princeps (Bighead tilefish)1
Cepphus columba (Pigeon Guillemot)1
Citharichthys sordidus (Sanddab)1
Clupea pallasii pallasii (Pacific herring)1
Cololabis saira (Skipper)1
Diaphus theta (California headlightfish)2
Eschrichtius robustus (Gray Whale)1
Eubalaena japonica (North Pacific Right Whale)1
Fratercula arctica (Atlantic Puffin)1
Fulmarus glacialis (Northern Fulmar)2
Gadus chalcogrammus (Whiting)1
Katsuwonus pelamis (White bonito)1
Lampanyctus jordani (Brokenline lanternfish)1
Lyopsetta exilis (Slender sole)1
Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)3
Mobula japanica (Spinetail mobula)1
Mobula thurstoni (smoothtail mobula)1
Nansenia candida (Bluethroat argentine)1
Oceanodroma furcata (Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel)1
Oceanodroma leucorhoa (Leach's Storm-Petrel)1
Pleurogrammus monopterygius (Atka mackerel)1
Prionotus stephanophrys (Blackfin gurnard)1
Ptychoramphus aleuticus (Cassin's Auklet)2
Puffinus tenuirostris (Short-tailed Shearwater)4
Raja rhina (Longnose skate)1
Rissa tridactyla (Black-legged Kittiwake)3
Sardinops sagax (Australian pilchard)2
Sebastes alutus (Snapper)2
Sebastes caurinus (Copper rockfish)1
Sebastes crameri (Rockfish)1
Sebastes diploproa (Splitnose rockfish)2
Sebastes flavidus (Yellowtail rockfish)2
Sebastes maliger (Rockfish)1
Sebastes pinniger (Rockfish)2
Sebastes serranoides (Rockfish)2
Sigmops gracilis (Slender fangjaw)1
Stenobrachius leucopsarus (Smallfin lanternfish)1
Sterna paradisaea (Arctic Tern)1
Synthliboramphus antiquus (Ancient Murrelet)3
Tarletonbeania crenularis (Blue lanternfish)1
Trichiurus lepturus (Atlantic Cutlassfish)1


Parasite of 
Trichinella spiralis (pork worm)[6]


Parasitized by 
Anisakis simplex[9]
Bolbosoma balaenae[9]
Bolbosoma brevicolle[9]
Bolbosoma capitatum[6]
Bolbosoma hamiltoni[9]
Bolbosoma nipponicum[9]
Bolbosoma paramuschiri <Unverified Name>[9]
Bolbosoma turbinella[9]
Brachycladium goliath[9]
Crassicauda boopis <Unverified Name>[9]
Crassicauda crassicauda <Unverified Name>[9]
Crassicauda tortilis <Unverified Name>[9]
Diphyllobothrium balaenopterae[9]
Odontobius ceti[9]
Ogmogaster grandis[9]
Priapocephalus grandis[9]
Priapocephalus minor[9]
Pseudoterranova decipiens[9]
Tetrabothrius affinis[9]
Tetrabothrius ruudi[9]
Tetrabothrius schaeferi[9]
Tetrabothrius wilsoni[9]

Range Map

Antarctica/Southern Ocean; East Pacific; Eastern Atlantic Ocean; Indo-West Pacific; Western Atlantic Ocean;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
2de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4Emoji by Twitter is licensed under CC BY 4.0
5Wikipedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
6Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
7Food Web Relationships of Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca : a Synthesis of the Available Knowledge, Charles A. Simenstad, Bruce S. Miller, Carl F. Nyblade, Kathleen Thornburgh, and Lewis J. Bledsoe, EPA-600 7-29-259 September 1979
8Blue whale habitat and prey in the California Channel Islands, Paul C. Fiedler, Stephen B. Reilly, Roger P. Hewitt, David Demer, Valerie A. Philbrick, Susan Smith, Wesley Armstrong, Donald A. Croll, Bernie R. Tershy, Bruce R. Mate, Deep-Sea Research II 45 (1998) 1781-1801
9Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access