Name: Blue whale Length: 30 meters (98 ft) Weight: 191 short tons Family: Balaenopteridae Genus: Balaenoptera Species: B. musculus
The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. At 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever existed. The Blue Whale’s tongue weighs around 2.7 metric tons (5,952 pounds), about the size of an average Asian Elephant and its heart weighs about 600 kg (1,300 lb) and is the largest known in any animal. Not only is the heart similar size to a mini-cooper car but also comparable in weight.
The Blue Whale is thought to feed almost exclusively on small, shrimp-like creatures called Krill. During the summer feeding season the Blue Whale gorges itself, consuming an astounding 3.6 metric tons (7,900 pounds) or more each day. This means it may eat up to 40 million krill a day with a daily calorie requirement of an adult Blue Whale in the region of 1.5 million.
Blue whales are not easy to catch or kill. Their speed and power meant that they were rarely pursued by early whalers, who instead targeted sperm and right whales. In 1864, the Norwegian Svend Foyn equipped a steamboat with harpoons specifically designed for catching large whales. Although it was initially cumbersome and had a low success rate, Foyn perfected the harpoon gun, and soon several whaling stations were established on the coast of Finnmark in northern Norway. Because of disputes with the local fishermen, the last whaling station in Finnmark was closed down in 1904.
The Natural History Museum in London contains a famous mounted skeleton and life-size model of a blue whale, which were both the first of their kind in the world, but have since been replicated at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Similarly, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has a full-size model in its Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life. A juvenile blue whale skeleton is installed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Article and images are collected from wikipedia.org