Blue whale life cycle

From: Phil Clapham (
Date: Fri Sep 08 2000 - 07:28:53 EDT


Blues whales are born in winter, probably in warm water. they are about
22-26 feet long and 3-4 tons at birth. They put on 200 lbs a day while
nursing, when they take probably around 100 gallons of milk a day from
their mothers. Calves separate from their moms at around 6-7 months
(when they're maybe 50-55 feet long). They are sexually mature between
five and eight years, and females give birth to a single calf every 2-3
years. We don't know how long they live, but it's probably in excess of
70 years in some cases (fin whales, which are closely related and with
which blues occasionally hybridize, are known to live to at least 80).

Blue whales make annual migrations between cold-water feeding grounds in
higher latitudes and warmer waters in winter where they calve and
probably mate (though nothing is known about the mating system). The
migration is not simple, however, and seasonal movements are pretty
complex. At least some blue whales go to productive tropical areas and
continue to feed in winter, while others may fast. What determines
which whales go where on migrations isn't known.

Phil Clapham wrote:
> What is a blue whales life cycle
> Sncrossfield


Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D. Large Whale Biology Program Northeast Fisheries Science Center 166 Water Street Woods Hole, MA 02543

tel (508) 495-2316 fax (508) 495-2258 Internet:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 04 2001 - 10:40:13 EDT