Beluga or white whale is a type of cetacean found in the waters of the Arctic sea and surrounding areas. The beluga is one of two species of the family whale Monodontidae, along with the Narwhal, or horned whale. Know more about Beluga Whale Knees: And Are Beluga Whale Mermaid?
By listening to this article, you can find out about the Beluga whale’s facts, characteristics, and bone structure.
What does a Whale Look Like
Blue whales appear real blue in the water, but at the surface, their color is more scattered blue-gray. Their underbellies acquire an orange hue because of thousands of microscopic organisms taking into their skin. The blue whale is characterized by an elongated flat head and a broad, tapered body, which is capped by large triangular flukes.
Characteristics of Beluga Whales
Beluga Whale Size
Beluga whales have a moderate rate of sexual dimorphism because males are 25% longer than females and also stronger. Adult male beluga whales can measure 3.5 to 5.5 meters, while females measure 3 to 4.1 meters.
The weight of a male beluga whale is 1,100 to 1,600 kg and sometimes can also be up to 1,900 kg. As for the female weighs 700 to 1,200 kg. This beluga whale is included in a medium-sized species among other toothed whales. Female and male beluga whales can reach their maximum size when they are 10 years old.
The body shape of the beluga whale is steamy and cone-shaped with the tip facing backward or fusiform. Usually, this whale also has fat folds, especially along the surface of the abdomen. Between 40 and 50% of the beluga whale’s body weight is more fat than any other Arctic whale. The fat forms a layer that covers all the body except the head with a thickness of 15 cm.
The fat is useful as insulation in waters with temperatures between 0 to 18 degrees Celsius. In addition, the fat on the body of beluga whales is also useful as a backup during periods without food.
Beluga Whale Weight
The weight and length average of an adult varies between 1100-2500lbs. (499-1143 kg) and 11-15 feet (3.4-4.6 meters). The average birth weight of a calf is between 119 and 145 pounds. 54 until 66 kg and length is 4.5-5.1 feet 137 until 155 cm.
Color of Beluga Whales
Beluga whales have a white color or somewhat white ash. Beluga whales will generally be born with ash and will turn into dark ash or gray-blue when they are 1 month old. Later the pigmentation will disappear gradually until finally, it will be a very distinctive white color at the age of 7 years for females and 9 years for males.
The white color on the skin of beluga whales is an adaptation to life in the Arctic so that it can masquerade in polar ice sheets to protect itself from major predators such as killer whales as well as polar bears. Unlike other whales, beluga whales will release their skin seasonally.
In winter, the epidermis will thicken and beluga skin is yellowish, especially in the fins and back. When migrating to the estuary in the summer, the beluga whale will rub its body into the gravel of the riverbed to release the layers of its skin.
Head of Beluga Whale
The beluga whale is also nicknamed the head of the melon, this is due to the circle on its forehead! These circles are fatty organs that help the echolocation process, the process by which animals use echoes as a call to find and identify objects, according to the Mental Floss page.
The way it works is by reflecting sound waves into the water. This wave will bounce and return to the beluga in the form of echoes, the sea world website said. This wave has a fantastic speed, which is about 1.6 km per second! With this echolocation system, the beluga can determine the size, shape, speed, and distance of objects in the water. This is what helps them navigate and communicate.
Did Whales Have Legs, or “Do Whales have Legs”
In time, as they evolved to live in the ocean the front legs of their bodies became flippers. They also lost their hips and back legs however, the modern whales still retain vestiges of pelvises and throwbacks come into existence with remnants of hind legs.
Did Whales used to Have Legs
The earliest ancestors of the ocean’s largest creatures once walked on the land. Explore their incredible journey from the shore to the sea. Whales are master swimmers, they are perfectly adapted to living in the ocean they were once walking on four feet. Their land-dwelling predecessors lived approximately 50 million years back.
Beluga Whale Knees, “Do Beluga Whales Have Knees”
Does a whale have knees? Beluga Whale “Knees” are gaining popularity But, of course, Whales Don’t Have Legs. However, as we’ve previously established, the whale doesn’t, actually, possess any games. However, it is interesting to note that the term “school of whales” is known as”gam.
Why do beluga whales look like they have knees?
The insulating blubber makes up approximately 40 percent of the beluga’s body weight, according to Richard and it is therefore likely to be prominent on the sides of whales swimming around, she explained. In this instance, it is likely that movement is to blame for illusions like the “leg-like” illusion.
Whales with Legs, and “What were Whales with Legs Called?”
Paleontologists have discovered a prehistoric whale with 4 legs with webbed feet and hooves that were small at the ends of its fingers and toes. The whale was called Peregocetus Pacificus had sharp teeth for hunting fish, and could walk on land as well as be able to swim in the sea. It looks like a whale with human legs.
Whale Leg Bones
Both dolphins and whales are characterized by their pelvic (hip) bone that are evolutionary remains from when their ancestors were walking on the land for over 40 million years back. It has been widely believed that the bones are old, and slowly fading away, much like the tailbones of humans.
The Sound of the Beluga Whale
In addition, the beluga is also known as sea canary, aka sea walnut. This is because beluga has a rich and diverse vocal range. There are at least 11 different beluga sounds.
The sounds are used for echolocation when navigating waters as well as as a form of communication between beluga. These 11 types of sounds are used under different conditions because it is so vocal that the nickname sea canary is attached to them.
Beluga is known to be an expert in making bubbles in the water. This behavior is not only interpreted as a way to play around but also signifies social bonding between beluga, explained the Mental Floss page.
A study was conducted on 44 beluga whales. It is known that the rings and bubbles released slowly are believed to be a sign to play around, while other types of bubbles have a function to communicate. If the bubble is created suddenly it is a sign that the beluga is defensive and self-protective.
Beluga Whale Senses
Beluga whales have a very special sense of hearing and also a growing auditory cortex. This whale can hear sounds in the range of 1.2 to 120 kHz with the greatest sensitivity between 10 and 75 kHz. The majority of his voice is mostly received by the lower jaw then channeled to the middle ear.
Beluga whales have a wide lower jawbone and cavities at their base. The whale also has a small external hearing hole a few centimeters behind the eye. Each of these holes communicates with the external auditory canal and eardrum.
Beluga whales can see both in and out of the water even though their vision is relatively poor compared to dolphins. The eyes of the beluga will be specially adapted for underwater viewing. When in contact with air, the crystalline lens and cornea will adjust to overcome myopia.
Beluga Skeleton, “Beluga Whale Skeleton”
Unlike other whales or dolphins, beluga whales have 7 vertebrae in the neck that do not fuse. This allows the beluga to turn its head towards the side without twisting its body. This makes the beluga have lateral maneuverability so that its movement is better, helping to catch prey and avoid predators in deep waters.
Beluga has about 8 to 10 small, blunt, and slightly curved teeth on each side of the jaw and a total of 36 to 40 teeth. However, beluga whales do not use their teeth to chew but to catch prey that will then be torn and swallowed.
Beluga whales have only one spiracle on the top of the head behind the melon and also a muscular cover so it can be completely covered. Under normal conditions, the spiracle will be closed and the animal will have to contract the breaker muscle to open the spiracle. Beluga whales have a larger thyroid gland than land mammals weighing 3x more than horses. It helps the beluga to maintain a larger metabolism during the summer and live at the mouth of the river.
Whale Skeleton Legs
Hind Leg Bones in Whales
Biologists have concluded that for 100 million years, the only vertebrates living on Earth were aquatic creatures without arms or legs. In spite of the apparent lack of use, evolution has left evidence of hind legs, and the limbs of these limbs are still be seen in contemporary whales.
Beluga Whale Fins
Compared to its size, the fins of beluga whales are very small, round, slightly curved at the ends, and paddle-shaped. These fins are useful as steering to control the direction and work in sync with tail fins as well as for agile movement in shallow waters to a depth of 3 meters.
These fins can also regulate body temperature because the arteries that feed the fin muscles are surrounded by dilated blood vessels. The tail fin has a special arch at the bottom edge. The longitudinal muscles of the beluga whale’s back will produce the up and down movement of the tail fin.
Age of the Beluga Whale
From the initial investigation, it was said that beluga whales rarely can live more than 30 years. The method used to calculate the age of beluga whales is based on the calculation of dentin layers and dental cement. This layer is easily identifiable because one layer consists of opaque solid material and another layer is transparent and less dense.
But there was another study conducted in 2006 using radiocarbon dating in the dentin layer that showed that material deposits occur with a lower frequency of 1 time per year. That way, the study estimates that beluga whales can live up to 70 to 80 years.
Here’s “pictures of beluga whales“, or beluga whale images
Beluga Whale Food
Beluga whales have an important role in the structure and function of marine resources in the Arctic Ocean because they are abundant in the region. Beluga whales are opportunistic feeders with feeding habits that depend on the seasons and location. For example, when in the Beaufort Sea, it will consume Arctic cod and rosefish, shrimp, Greenland halibut. While in Alaska, the staple food of beluga whales is Coho salmon.
In general, beluga whale food consists of fish such as salmon, sole, smelt, herring, and others. In addition, beluga also consumes other foods such as squid, shrimp, crabs, octopuses, shellfish, fur worms, sea snails, and other deep-sea species. Beluga will usually eat a lot in winter because the fat is thickest in late winter and early winter but will be thinnest in autumn. The diet of beluga whales varies greatly depending on migration behavior as well as the season.
Beluga Whale Reproduction
Estimates of the age of sexual maturity of whales vary widely. But the average for males is 9 to 15 years of age, while for females it is 8 to 14 years old. The female will give birth for the first time around the age of 8.5 years and her fertility will begin to decline when she is 25 years old then menopause and stop reproducing when it is over 41 years old.
There is a slight difference in the sexual maturation time of male and female beluga. For males, it takes up to 9 years to be sexually mature, while females take 4 to 7 years. Females will generally give birth to 1 child every 3 years and mating usually occurs from February to May but can also occur at other times of the year.
The pregnancy will last for 12 to 14.5 months. But for female beluga in captivity has a longer gestation period of up to 15.8 months or 475 days. During the breeding season, the mass of the beluga testicles will multiply. Testosterone levels will increase but not depending on the copulate. Beluga whales will be born in a time that depends on the location.
A newborn beluga child will suckle underwater a few hours after birth. After that, beluga children will eat at an interval of 1 hour. The beluga child will depend on the mother to breastfeed in the first year when the teeth have appeared. After that, beluga children began to supplement the meal with shrimp and small fish.
It wouldn’t hurt for you to know about Are Sharks Mammals: and What Is a Group Of Sharks Called?
Do Beluga Whales Have Knees / Beluga Whales Knees
There have been many questions, do beluga whales have knees?
Throughout history, sailors have mistaken the Welsh Beluga for mermaids because of their human-like knees.
But reporting from the IFL Science page it is their fat folds that look like beluga knees.
Are Mermaids Mammals
The earliest accounts of mermaids like those written in the writings of Christopher Columbus during his exploration of the Caribbean and the Caribbean could be reports of manatees or similar aquatic mammal species. Although it is not clear whether there exists evidence to suggest that there are mermaids outside of the realm of folklore, however, reports of sightings of mermaids persist up to today.
Manatee Mermaid Theory
Barney said that the idea stems from the reality that sailors would imagine manatees as Mermaids because of lengthy periods of no female contact. Marshall as well as Robin both drink and party all night long, however when they return to their home, Marshall begins seeing Robin as a mermaid.
Beluga Whales Look Like Mermaids
The past has seen Beluga whales have frequently been misinterpreted as Mermaids due to their knees that resemble human knees. It has been the case that Beluga whales are often mistaken for mermaids owing to due to their normal-looking knees.
Beluga “Whale Mermaid”
As already explained above the Beluga Whale has no legs, and therefore no knees. Also, they bear no resemblance to mermaids or humans.
From this explanation, it is certainly certain that the beluga whale is not a mermaid.
Mermaid fish is a dugong fish. It is one of the 35 species of marine mammals in Indonesia. Dugongs are Sirenia animals whose area of residence is not limited to coastal waters.
In general, dugongs are herbivores by eating seagrass. But currently, seagrass habitat is decreasing, based on data only 5% are classified as healthy, 80% unhealthy, and 15% unhealthy from 1,507 km2 seagrass field area (LIPI, 2017).
Here are the features of Mermaids or Dugongs:
- Long-lived, can live up to 70 years
- Large size: His body length can reach 3 meters with a weight of 450 kg
- It is the only sea mammal that eats seagrass, and also balance the seagrass ecosystem
- It can be found along with the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins
- Able to hold your breath in the water for up to 12 minutes, while foraging and swimming.
From this, it can be concluded that what is seen on the knees of beluga whales that resemble mermaids is a fold of fat on the lower part of the body. This also explains that the beluga is not a mermaid.
Beluga Whale Fun Facts
- Also called “sea canaries,” belugas are among vocal whales.
- The beluga is very close with the narwhal. They are two of only the Monodontidae family.
- Beluga whales’ diving can take up to 25 minutes. They can also reach depths of 800 meters.
- The word”beluga” comes directly from the Russian term “bielo” meaning white. But, these whales are born gray. It could take up to eight years before they become completely white.
- The beluga can swim in reverse.
- The beluga has the ability to change the form of its bulbous forehead also known as”melon “melon”, by blowing air around its sinuses.
- A beluga whale helped a distraught participant of a freediving competition by lifting her up into the water.
- Belugas, unlike other species of arctic whales, do NOT possess dorsal fins (a dorsal fin can cause extra heat loss, and is an obstacle in the glaciers of the arctic) however, there is a strong dorsal ridge. They also have an incredibly thick layer of blubber, which shields them from the cold Arctic waters.
- The vertebrae inside the neck of a beluga aren’t connected, which gives it the unique capability to rotate its head upwards, downwards, and side-to-side.
- Beluga whales face threats from hunter-gatherers, climate change development of oil and gas, and industrial and urban pollution. Killer whales and polar bears are known to be the predators of belugas across the Arctic range.
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