Whales-types; migrate; reproduction; adaptations

From: Dagmar Fertl (dagmar_fertl@hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 09:50:12 EDT


Dear Ms. Fertl,
I am really sorry you didn't recieve the questions.
so Iam going to send them again on the attachment.
Thank you.

Question list

1. How many species of whales are there found? Names? Habitat? Weight?
Size? Diet? Scientific names.
2. How can you tell them apart?
3. Does whale sleep? Where?
4. If they sleep underwater how can they come up for air?
5. Does whale all migrate the same time? What time? What kind?
6. Is there any specialties that whale has and other animals dont?
7. How do whales give birth?
8. Which season do different kinds of whale give birth?
9. How much would each baby whale weigh?
10. Do all mother whales give birth?
What are baby whales called?

**********
Hi Jennifer. Wow, that's quite a list of questions. For your first question,
there are entire books that have been written about that question. I would
recommend a good field guide like Jefferson et al's "Marine Mammals of the
World" or Leatherwood and Reeves' book "The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales
and Dolphins". It depends on whom you talk to when you ask how many whales
there are. There are two types of whales - baleen and toothed. There are 11
types of baleen whales. There are over 67 types of toothed whales (which
also include the dolphins and porpoises). The rest of the information is
best looked up in a book.

2. We can tell individual whales apart by how they look (color patterns,
length, etc.) and by their skulls.

3 and 4. I can answer this question based on what we know about dolphins.
Dolphins sleep, but not like humans do. They are voluntary breathers, which
means that they have to think about every breath they take (in contrast to
how we breathe). They sleep with half their brain at a time...kind of like
taking a cat nap...so that half the brain can be thinking about breathing,
even while the dolphin is sleeping.

5. Not all whales migrate. Many of the baleen whales migrate. They time
their migration so that they can take advantage of there being lots of food
in polar waters during the summer and then they migrate to warmer waters in
the winter to calve and mate.

6. Of course whales have special adaptations to living in the water. Again,
there are entire books written on this subject. Since you didn't say whether
you were comparing whales to fish or other mammals (or another type of
animal), it's hard to answer this question.
If you look thru the links that WhaleNet has, there should be a link to the
SeaWorld site which has a great information packet that includes information
on adaptations to living in the water.

7. A calf is born typically tailfirst, but sometimes headfirst underwater.
The calf then makes its way to the water's surface to breathe air.

8. This depends on what type of whale you're talking about. Animal babies
are usually born when there is the most food. For example, a bottlenose
dolphin baby is usually born during the spring. However, they can be born at
any time of year, just usually during the spring (and many also in the fall,
in some places). On the other hand, the baleen whales that migrate, give
birth during the winter in warm waters.

9. How much a baby whale weighs, depends on the type of whale. For example,
a bottlenose dolphin calf may weigh 25 pounds when it is born, while a blue
whale calf weighs 2500 kilograms!

10. For a whale to be a 'mother' it needs to give birth. I assume you mean,
do all female whales give birth. No, they don't always give birth every
year.

11. A baby whale is called a calf.
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