Species at Risk
Blue whale (Atlantic population)
What is the Blue Whale?
In addition to being the Earth’s largest
animal, the blue whale is also the noisiest: its cry, which can reach
186 decibels, is louder than a jet plane!
© Parks Canada / J. Audet
The blue whale is a cold-water cetacean recognized by its
long, slender body that is widest at the eyes. Its head takes up approximately
one quarter of the total length of the body. Its dorsal fin is rather small
and its pectoral fins are pointed.
Blue whales are part of the baleen whale
family. The pattern of spots that cover its body can vary considerably,
but it is unique to each whale and remains the same throughout its life. The
pattern can therefore be used to identify individuals, which enables scientists
to follow their movements and recognize their behaviours. The blue whale is
enormous: the largest ever observed was 29.5 metres long and weighed more
than 150 tonnes. On average blue whales are 20 metres long and females are
generally larger than males. At birth, calves are around 7 metres long and
weigh around 2 tonnes. That’s the size of a school bus and the weight
of a minivan!
Did you think that the biggest creature to ever live on
the planet was a dinosaur? Well, you’re wrong! The blue whale has the
record! In fact, the largest of all dinosaurs only measured 24 metres and
weighed 36 tonnes. The blue whale, however, can be up 29.5 meters and weigh
Where is the Blue Whale found?
The blue whale spends most of its time in coastal waters and the deep sea.
The Atlantic population
of blue whales lives in the waters off the east coast of Canada. During the
spring, summer and fall, these whales can be found along the north coast of
the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the east coast of Nova Scotia. During the summer,
the Atlantic population can also be found along the south coast of Newfoundland
and in the Davis Straight, between Baffin Island and Greenland. Blue whales
generally migrate south for the winter; however, if the ice cover is thin,
some whales may stay in the St. Lawrence for a good part of the cold season.