Blue whale: photo, description. What does this animal look like?

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 Blue whale: photo, description. What does this animal look like?

The blue whale is the largest mammal and the largest animal not only among existing ones, but also in the history of our planet in general. Their size is simply amazing: a blue whale can reach a length of 33 meters. According to observations, southern hemisphere whales are generally slightly taller than northern whales.

  The largest blue whale in the world is a female who was killed in 1926 near the South Shetland Islands: her length was 33.58 meters. Females are always taller than males, and their average length is estimated at 23.5 meters and 22.8 meters respectively.

The blue whale weighs a lot: the body weight of an adult animal is 100-150 tons - this is the weight of about 25 African elephants. At the same time, a newborn blue mink weighs 2-3 tons. The maximum weight of a blue whale is unknown.

  The tongue of a single blue whale weighs 4 tons, and it is three times heavier than its liver.

The Blue Whale's records don't stop there. the heart of a blue whale weighs nearly a ton. It is the largest heart of all animals, pumping 10 tons of blood through the vessels. But compared to the size of the body, the heart of a blue whale is not that big: the same ratio appears in all minke whales.

The head of the whale is very large, occupying up to a quarter of the length of the body, and has a central crest that extends from the opening to the tip of the platform (upper jaw). The cervical vertebrae of minke whales are moveable, which gives them the ability to move their heads. The animal has an elongated jaw that holds the upper part of the whalebone. The lower jaw is much larger and wider than the upper jaw.

The eyes are small, and they are located slightly behind and above the corners of the mouth. The eye diameter of an adult animal reaches 12.5 cm (size is indicated for a whale of 21.6 meters). The iris of the eyeball is brown, the pupil is elongated, and the outer edge is straight. The atria disappeared as the aqueous habitat moved, leaving small holes in their place.

A distinguishing feature of almost all species of the genus minke (Balaenoptera) are numerous folds - stripes extending from the chin to the navel. Most of them are located at the base of the pectoral fins. These folds are necessary to increase the volume of the pharynx during feeding: due to their expansion, the whale can take a much larger volume of water in its mouth.

The breath of the blue minke, like all baleen whales, is formed by two nostrils, converging on the front ends. It is located on the top of the head, it is important to breathe air without bending the neck. Breathing opens only with a brief act of breathing - inhalation-exhalation (performed before and immediately after diving underwater). In other words, the whale dives on exhalation and not on inhalation, as previously thought. The rest of the time, the blue whale's vent is sealed with a valve that prevents water from entering the airways.

As you exhale, a vertical spray fountain rises in the air. As the animal climbs upward, its lungs expand, the vent opens wide, and the air accumulated during the dive is forcefully exhaled. At the same time, the water around the vent is captured and the air vapors are condensed.

The resulting cloud of fog and vapor is called a "fountain", in a blue whale it can reach a height of 9 or even 10 meters. The Blue Whale Fountain is single-jet, despite having two nostrils, and looks like an expanding funnel.

The structure of the blue whale is typical of aquatic life. The bones of the skeleton are spongy, abundantly saturated with fat. There are four sections in the spine: cervical (7 vertebrae, as in all mammals), thoracic (carries 10 to 17 pairs of ribs, only 8 pairs are connected to the sternum), lumbar and caudal. In the skeletal structure, signs of origin of land mammals can be traced. The remains of the hind legs (rudimentary pelvic bone) are completely hidden inside the animal's body.

The reduction of the hind limbs allowed the whales to develop a mobile and strong caudal peduncle and give birth to large, developed cubs. In the forelimb girdle skeleton there are no collarbones, in the free foreleg skeleton there is a short humerus, radius and ulna of the forearm. Whale toes have an increased number of phalanges compared to the standard land type limb.

The pectoral fins of blue whales are narrow, lanceolate, large, representing 1/7 of the body length. They are located at the end of the first third of the animal's body. Sometimes in adults, instead of the usual sharp end of the fin, 2-3 teeth develop, which are the ends of 2-3 fingers. The dorsal fin of a whale is small, consists of connective tissue, triangular, moved far back (it is only about 1% of the length of the body, but not more than 35 cm).

L'organe génital d'une baleine bleue est généralement caché dans un vagin spécial situé à 1,5 à 2 m derrière le nombril, sa longueur est d'environ 150 à 180 cm (en fonction de la longueur du corps).

The painted blue whales are dark gray with a blue tint and marble decorated with a pattern of gray spots of various sizes and shapes. The upper body is darker, the lower part is light. The head and lower jaw are rather dark gray in color, much darker than the belly. The dorsal fin is the same color as the back (sometimes there is a bright white mark on it), the pectoral fins are as gray on the outside as the sides of a whale, sometimes spotted, and on the outside. interior are clear (much lighter than the rest of the body). The caudal fin lobes are gray or dark gray (often the underside of the caudal fin is darker than the tip).

There are more spots closer to the caudal fin than in the anterior part of the body. The nature of the pigmentation and the distribution of spots on the back and sides differ in all individuals. In their research, scientists use this fact to photo-identify individual animals by color when pictured above the surface of the water.


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