Info on Blue Whales request

From: Greg Early (gearly@neaq.org)
Date: Mon Sep 25 2000 - 10:23:50 EDT


Tammy and Jonathan,

The short answer is "No" they don't.

You are right that Blue whales have a thin layer of brown algae (diatoms)
on their underside, making them off yellow. Whalers called blue whales
"Sulphur-bottom" whales, because of this color. I suppose a blue whale
might pick up the odd barnacle or cyamid (a little crab-like creature,
called a "whale louse")as a hitchhiker from time to time, but under normal
circumstances, they would have few if any. As a matter of fact, most of
the barnacles you would have seen on the humpbacks are pretty picky about
what whales they live on, and are fairly specific to humpback whales. The
1,500 pounds of barnacles sounds a little fishy to me. Maybe Alaskan
humpbacks are a lot more loaded down than the whales I have seen on this
(east) coast, but that sounds like a lot of barnacles. Fifteen hundred
barnacles, I could believe, but fifteen hundred pounds sounds like a bit much.

ge

At 12:07 PM 9/23/00 EDT, you wrote:
>My 9 year old son is working on a project about Blue Whales. We have
>reasearched countless articles obtaining facts and information on these
>whales. My hisband and I recently had the opportunity to see Humpback whales
>in Junaeu, AK. I learned from our guides that those whales can have up to
>1500 lbs of barnicles on their bodies. My son in turn wants to know if Blue
>whales can also have these. We have read about the mustard yellow color on
>their stomaches- "diatoms". But I can not give him an answer on this
>question. Thank you for your help on any additional info you could share
>about these magnificnet creatures.
>
>
> Tammy & Jonathan
>Patalano
> tsp69@aol.com
>



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