Whales represent one of the largest creatures and have existed on the planet for thousands of years. This family is classified within the mysticete cetaceans, which are mammals adapted to aquatic life and possess beards instead of teeth. Although, colloquially speaking, the word “whale” usually refers to all kinds of cetaceans, that is, both bearded cetaceans themselves, and toothed cetaceans (odontocetes).
Where baleen whales live and what they eat
They are cetaceans with beards instead of teeth that they use for filtration and food. They can be divided into four families: right whales, dwarf right whales, fin whales and gray whales.
They are fed by a technique known as foaming, which consists of a continuous feeding where the water with the food enters between the beards through a very slow and continuous surface swim. The southern right whale can be found in different oceans, mainly in the southern hemisphere ( South Atlantic, South Pacific, etc.) and part of the South Pole, although they migrate and reproduce in warmer waters during winter.
It is also possible to find some specimens in the North Pacific, where the North Pacific right whale can also be found. In contrast, the glacial right whale inhabits the waters of the North Atlantic .
They feed using the swallowing technique, since they have folds under the jaw that allow them to dilate their mouths to swallow large amounts of water. Then the water is filtered and the food passes between the beards. In the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, North Pacific and Antarctic we can find the common minke and fin whale or blue whale .
In more temperate and tropical waters closer to the coast, you can find Bryde’s fin whale , which also feeds on fish and plankton. Another fin whale that feeds on pelagic fish and crustaceans is the fin whale , which is found living in the warm and subtropical oceans of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The minke whale or dwarf whale is distributed in oceans of the northern hemisphere, while the southern one is found in oceans of the southern hemisphere. Another recently discovered species is the Omura fin whale , which is distributed among the seas of Japan.
They are medium-sized whales, which live mainly in Pacific waters (although there are not many specimens), where they feed on small crustaceans, such as krill , that inhabit the mud, which they dig with their snout to catch it along with their food. They then filter the mud and absorb the food through their beards.
They are cetaceans with teeth and exclusively carnivores. Thanks to their teeth they feed on fish, cephalopods, crustaceans or small mammals. The odontocetes are very cosmopolitan species, which have populations in almost all the world’s oceans, such as the following:
- The Dolphins
- Beluga whales
- Sperm whales (very deep water)
- Beaked whales
Another species of odontocetes are river dolphins , which are distributed in rivers in different parts of the world. There are also other species of odontocetes less popularly known.
Whales are animals that migrate in large groups called clans, reaching up to thousands of kilometers to other latitudes. The reason for these migrations can be food or even reproductive.
It is known, for example, that krill (its main food), reproduces during the summer in cold waters of the poles, so many species migrate to the poles to feed, while in winter, when the waters are cold, they return to their original places. Although, there are different migratory patterns according to species.
Another characteristic is that the whales are organized within a migratory group , with the reproductive mothers leading the group in a more advanced position, while the calves or calves , in more protected positions, go to the tail of the group.
Furthermore, whales orient themselves and communicate with each other through a phenomenon known as echolocation , which consists of the emission of sounds of different frequencies (different in different species) and the measurement of reception time. This characteristic sometimes makes them disoriented, especially as a consequence of the invasion of the ocean by human beings (boats, submarines, pollution, etc.), which many times cause beach stranding.