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ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index

WHALE ANATOMY AND BEHAVIOR
General Anatomy Size Pods The Senses Baleen
Reproduction Diet Flukes Sleep Offense/
Defense
Blowhole

Whale Anatomy and Physiology


GENERAL ANATOMY

Whales are marine mammals. They breathe air through blowholes.


There are two types of whales, toothed whales (Odontoceti) and baleen whales (Mysticeti). Toothed whales are predators that use their teeth to catch squid, fish, marine mammals, etc. Baleen whales have a sieve-like structure called baleen that catches huge amounts of tiny krill for nourishment. There are 10 species of baleen whales. Baleen whales are larger than the toothed whales.

The following drawing is a typical toothed whale:

Whale anatomy-toothed

The following drawing is a humpback whale, a baleen whale with throat grooves:




The Heartbeat of a Whale
The heartbeat of a whale varies from whale to whale - in general, larger animals have a slower heat rate than smaller animals). The average heart rate of large whales is from about 10 to 30 heart beats per minute. The heart rate of the beluga was measured at 12-20 beats per minute. Whales lower their heart rate when they dive beneath the water - this conserves oxygen and lets them dive longer. For an article on the heart rate of whales, see: "Hunting the Heartbeat of a Whale" National Geographic, Volume 110:49-64 1956

Whale Anatomy Quiz:
A whale anatomy quiz to print out.






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