Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)
EnchantedLearning.com
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 Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

B

BACKGROUND EXTINCTIONS

Background extinctions are those extinctions that occur continually throughout time. These extinctions are caused by small changes in climate or habitat, depleted resources, competition, and other changes that require adaptation and flexibility. Most extinctions (perhaps up to 95 per cent of all extinctions) occur as background extinctions.

BACTERIA

Bacteria are one-celled, microscopic organisms that live all over the world. They are important in the decay of organic material and in the fixing of nitrogen.

BAIRD'S BEAKED WHALE

Baird's beaked whale is the largest beaked whale. Adults are from 35-42 ft (10.7-1.28 m) long and weigh from 11 to 15 tons. Newborns are about 14.75 ft (4.5 m) long. The lower jaw (which has 4 teeth, located at its tip) is longer than the upper jaw (which has no teeth); this is tru for both males and females. The dorsal fin is very small and is far back on the body (near the tail), but the flippers are near the mouth. The skin is dark gray (with many scratches) with white spots on the belly. This toothed whale lives in deep waters of the Northern Pacific Ocean, from off the coast of California to Alaska to Russia, China, Korea and Japan. Baird's beaked whale eats fish, squid, and some crustceans. Externally, this whale is very similar to Arnoux's beaked whale. Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Cetacea, Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales), Family Ziphidae (beaked whales), Genus Berardius, Species B. Bairdii.

BALEEN

Baleen is a sieve-like device that Mysticeti (baleen whales) use to obtain nourishment (krill). Baleen is a series of stiff, flexible material that hang from the upper jaw. The inside of the baleen is edged with hairy plates that filter krill. Baleen is made of keratin (the same substance our fingernails are made of) and is also called whalebone.

BALEEN WHALES

Baleen whales (also known as Mysticeti, or mustached whales) are filter feeders that have baleen, a sieve-like device use for filter feeding krill, copepods, plankton, and small fish. They are the largest whales and have 2 blowholes. Baleen whales include blue, gray, humpback, minke, bowhead, and right whales. Many baleen whales species are endangered.

BARNACLE

A barnacle is a small parasitic shellfish that cements itself headfirst to whales, boat hulls, rocks, and other objects that remain underwater. They have tiny feathery plumes that protrude from their top that strain food from the water for nourishment. There are over 1,000 different species of barnacles.


BASILOSAURUS

Basilosaurus (also known as Zeuglodon) was an Archaeoceti whale, a primitive, extinct whale from the Eocene epoch, 50 million of years ago. This snake-like whale had 44 teeth in its long jaws. It had small hind legs and a reduced pelvis. it was about 65 ft (20 m) long.

BATHYPELAGIC

Bathypelagic means of, pertaining to, or living in the deep ocean.

BEAK

The beak is the elongated part of the mouth and jaws (the snout) on beaked whales and some dolphins.

BEAKED WHALE

The beaked whales are a type of toothed whale that have an elongated snout (mouth and jaws) and generally live in deep waters (they are often sited near ocean trenches). Male beaked whales have 2 or four tusk-like teeth (on the longe, arched lower jaw) but the females of most beaked whale species have no teeth. There are about 20 known types of beaked whales, including Baird's beaked whale, Arnoux's beaked whale, the Northern and Southern bottlenose whales, Sowerby's beaked whale, Andrew's beaked whale, Hubb's beaked whale, Blainville's beaked whale, Gervais' beaked whale, the ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, Gray's beaked whale, Hector's beaked whale, the sharp-toothed whale, True's bearded whale, Longman's beaked whale, the lesser beaked whale, Stejneger's beaked whale, Shepherd's beaked whale, and Cuvier's beaked whale. Many of these species are only known from dead specimens (and have never been seen alive). Classification: Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Cetacea, Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales), Family Ziphidae (beaked whales).


BELUGA WHALE

The beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is a toothed whale that is white as an adult, grows to be about 15 feet (4.6 m) long and weighs about 3,300 pounds (1.500 kg). They live in frigid arctic and subarctic waters, but many migrate to warmer water in the summer. They are also known as "sea canaries" because of their songs.

BENTHIC FEEDERS

Benthic feeders are organisms (plants and animals) that live in or on the bottom of a body of water. Gray whales and belugas are benthic feeders, sieving organisms from oceanic mud.
1,000,000,000

BILLION
A billion is a thousand million. Multicellular life evolved on Earth about a billion years ago.

BIO-SONAR

Bio-sonar is the echolocation that toothed whales use to locate objects underwater.

BIOTA

Biota is the animal and plant life of an area.


BLOW

The blow is a cetacean's visible above-water exhalation of air through its blowhole(s).


BLOWHOLE

Blowholes are a whale's nostrils. Whales breathe air through their blowhole. Blowholes are located on the top or back of the head. Toothed whales have one blowhole; baleen whales have two.

BLUBBER

Blubber is a thick insulating layer of fat. Blubber helps keeps an animal's temperature stable, stores food energy, and helps the animal float (because fat is lighter than water). Whales' blubber ranges from 2 inches thick (in the gray whale) to 16 inches thick (in the blue whale).

BLUE WHALE

The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest animal that ever lived on Earth - even bigger than any of the dinosaurs. Blue whales are up to 110 feet (34 m) long and weigh up to 180,000 kg. Blue whales are an endangered species.

BODY FOSSILS

Body fossils are fossilized body parts, such as bones, teeth, claws, skin, and embryos.

BONEBEDS

Bonebeds are large deposits of fossil bones found together, mostly of the same species. A bonebed usually indicates that the fossilized animal lived in groups.

BONES

Bones are made of hard minerals like calcium. They fossilize well.

BOTO

The boto, (Inia geoffrensis) is also known as the Amazon River Dolphin, pink dolphin, and pink porpoise; it is the largest river dolphin. The boto has a long, toothed snout, a flexible neck, a humped back (and no dorsal fin), and pink, off-white, or bluish-gray skin. The shape of the melon is changeable. This carnivore eats fish and crabs. It is from 6-8 1/4 ft (1.8-2.5 m) long and weighs from 185-355 pounds (85-160 kg). This South American cetacean lives in the Amazon River and Orinoco Rivers (and their tributaries) in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, and Brazil.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN

Bottlenose dolphins are small cetaceans that have a long, beaklike snout, a falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin, and conical teeth. They are Odontoceti (toothed whales).

BOTTOM FEEDERS

Bottom feeders (also known as benthic feeders) are organisms (plants and animals) that live in or on the bottom of a body of water. Gray whales and belugas are benthic feeders, sieving organisms from oceanic mud.

BOW

The bow is the front of a ship.

BOWHEAD WHALE

Balaena mysticetus is a baleen whale that lives only in the Arctic. It has a large, bow-shaped head; the head is up to 40% of its entire length. Bowhead whales are about 50-60 feet (15-18.5 m) long and weigh about 60-80 tons. They are an endangered species.

BOW RIDER

A bow rider is a dolphin that hitches a rides in the bow wave in front of a ship. The dolphin surfs using the pressure created in front of a moving ship.

BREACHING

Breaching is an activity in which the whale jumps fully or partially out of the water and then slaps the water loudly when coming back down. Sometimes they twirl around while breaching. Breaching may be purely for play, may be used to loosen skin parasites, may be used in communication (the noise of the water slapping), and/or may have some social meaning.

BRINDLED

Brindled is a pattern of dark or mottled gray flecks or streaks.

BRINDLED DOLPHIN

Also known as the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, this small, toothed whale lives in tropical waters worldwide. This cetacean has a long, beaklike snout, a falcate (sickle-shaped) dorsal fin, and conical teeth. Classification: Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales), family Delphinidae, Genus Stenella, Species attenuata.

BRISTLES

Bristles are fibers that fringe baleen plates.

BUBBLE-NET FEEDING

Humpback whales cooperate in hunting and have developed a method of rounding up highly concentrated masses of prey that is called bubble-net feeding. The hunting members of a pod form a circle (10-100 feet across) about 50 feet under the water. Then the humpbacks blow a wall of bubbles as they swim to the surface in a spiral path. The cylindrical wall of bubbles makes the trapped krill, plankton, and/or small fish move to the surface of the water in a giant, concentrated mass. The humpbacks then eat a large, hearty meal.

BULL

A bull is an adult male whale.
1,000,000,000


BYA
"bya" stands for billions of years ago.

Zoom Whales
Whale Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.


Copyright ©1996 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page