Subject: Baleen

Lindsay J Porter (
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 12:35:20 +0800

>I would appreciate it if you could answer two questions for me: (1)How many
>teeth does a blue whale have? and (2) What is the colour of lobsters' blood?
>Thank you in advance for any help that you can give me with these questions.
Dear Carole,
1) Blue whales are baleen whales - that is they rely on small crustaceans to
make up their diet and as such do not require teeth.  Instead of teeth,
baleen whales have a series of plates rootedin the roof of the mouth - each
plate is roughly triangular and consists of a series of bristles.  These are
arranged along each side of the mouth and intertwine to form a sieve.  This
sieve is used to trap the small crustaceans that flow through the whales
mouth - the sieves allow the water to exit the mouth while leaving the food
behind.  Blue whales obtain most of their food within the top 100m of the
ocean - and can consume 8 tons of small crustaceans per day. 

2) Lobsters - like crabs - have blue blood.

best wishes

Lindsay J Porter

Dolphin Research Group
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong
Cape d'Aguilar
Shek O
Hong Kong