I guess it would depend a bit on where you were looking at your whale. Is
it in the water or is it somewhere where you can see it all over? For
example, let's say you are sitting in a sailboat looking at the whales.
All three swim by at the same time....the blue whale is the fastest, the
sperm whale is not far behind and the right whale is the slowest. The
blue whale would be the only one with a well defined fin (a dorsal fin) on
it's back. Also, you can tell the difference by looking at the shape of
the cloud of condensation made when the whale exhales (its "blow"). A
sperm whale (like all toothed whales and dolphins) has a single blowhole at
an angle on the top/front part of its head, so it has a single blow that
comes up at an angle. A right whale (like all baleen whales) has a double
blowhole on the top of its head. It has a double blow. A blue whale, even
though it also has a double blowhole has a high and straight blow. There
are several good field guide books that show the difference between the
blows of different types of whales. Some whales can be individually
identified by the shape and size of their blow. If you read the story of
"Moby Dick", one of the ways that they could identify Moby Dick (besides
the fact that he was all white) was the shape and size of his blow.
If you were to see these whales on shore (or from an airplane in clear
water) so you could see them well, there are many other ways to tell them
apart. The blue whale would be the longest. The sperm whale would be the
only one with teeth. The right whale and the blue whale have baleen
instead of teeth. The baleen in the right whale is much longer than the
baleen in the blue whale. The blue whale is the only one of the three that
would have folds running along the underside of its throat. These folds
expand and help the blue whale filter more water with it's baleen. (Look
at the picture of me standing on the whale in my ASK homepage. That whale
is a humpback whale, but it is lying on it's back and yu can clearly see
the folds along it's underside.).
There are other ways as well, but you can probably find many of these
differences by looking at some field guides wither in print or on the web
(check the WhaleNet archive).
From: Rob & Dee Bower [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 8:45 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Mr. Early,
My name is Julia Bower and I am a homeschooled student. I am studying
whales and am trying to find out how someone would tell the difference
between a blue whale, a sperm whale and a right whale. I have found out
alot of information but am still not sure how they would look different.
Thank you for your help! You must have a great job. I would love to hear
more about what you do exactly.
Sincerely, Julia Bower
8 years old
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