Howdy : Darrell Wingrove here . My question is - What do the light and dark
lines running up-n-down a Baleine piece mean ? (Grey,Black,White,Lite Grey)
Is it Age , Or what they have eatin in the past , or maybe moving from Baja
to Alaska waters i.e. Water temp. I can't seem to find anybody that knows
for sure . Thank You for your input to my question . Darrell
The number of baleen plates per side of the mouth and their maximum size,
shape, coloar, and other physical attributes are diagnostic for each
species. Baleen plates range in color from black to yellow or white,
depending on the species. I verified the following information in the
_Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals_ edited by Perrin et al. and published in
2002 by Academic Press.
Like human fingernails (baleen is made up of keratin, the same protein we
have in our fingernails and hair), the thickness of the baleen plates varies
with the nutritional state of the whale. Aternating periods of summer
gorging and winter fasting leave a regular series of visible growth zones on
the surfaces of the plates (I believe this is the striation in color that
you refer to in your question). These zones have been used to infer the ages
of whales, but because of constant wear of the baleen, it is rare for more
than five or six zones to remain in a plate. A claim that evidence of
individual ovulations could be detected in the growth patterns of baleen
plates was never confirmed.
Let me know if this answers your question or not.
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