Subject: Re: White Whales

Al Romero (aromero@ACC.FAU.EDU)
Tue, 08 Apr 1997 11:20:59 -0500 (EST)

>I am doing a reseaqrch project all about white whales.  This is my most
>favourite subject at school. Any information that you could send me to help
me >would be very much appreciated.

>Matthew Girling

Dear Matthew:

There are tons and tons of information about the White Whale, but I will try
to summarize for you the most important things.

The White Whale is also known as beluga (derived from Russian "Belukha").
Its scientific name is Delphinapterus leucas.

Its white color and the lack of dorsal fin makes of this species very
difficult to confuse with any other one.  They can reach 5.5 meters in
length and the males are larger than the females.  They can weight up to
1,600 kilograms

Although they are white as adults, they are born dark slate grey.  The pure
white color means that they are sexual mature.

They can be found in all areas around the North Pole. Sometimes the can be
seen as far south as New Jersey, but that is the exception, not the rule.
They may travel up to 800 kilometers during migration.

The natural enemies of the white whale are polar bears, walrus, and killer
whales.  Some times they are captured by humans and sometimes they die of
suffocation and starvation when trapped in the ice.  It has been calculated
that there are between 55,000 and 60,000 of these mammals in the world.

Belugas are very social animals that travel in herds of up to 500
individuals although groups of 8-16 are more common.  Gestation is long
(about 14 months).  Many have done well in captivity and can be seen in
several aquaria around the world.
 
Please let me know if you need further information

Best wishes,


Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.		
Florida Atlantic University	(954)236-1125	
College of Liberal Arts		(954)236-1150 (F)
Department of Biology		aromero@acc.fau.edu
2912 College Ave.,
Davie, FL 33314