Archives for tag: bowhead whale


Species Profile: The Bowhead Whale

The Bowhead Whale is one of the largest whales on Earth and it has the largest mouth of any creature on the Planet. 

A Bowhead Whale Spy-Hopping

A Bowhead Whale Spy-Hopping In The Ulbansky Bay, Northwestern Okhotsk Sea (Author: Olga Shpak/Wikimedia Commons cc by-sa 3.0)

The Bowhead Whale is one of the biggest whales on earth and it’s a species belonging in the Balaenidae family. They live exclusively in the waters of the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the Earth.

It has a dark, stocky body, with a white patch under its lower jaw and it lacks a dorsal fin. Their heads are large, triangular, and so strong that they use them to break through thick sheets of ice in order to breath. Some Inuit hunters have even reported seeing bowhead whales breaking through up to 60 cm (24 in) of solid ice.

This whale gets its common name from its strongly bowed lower jaw and narrow upper jaw. These are filter feeders: instead of teeth, they have baleen plates for filtering prey after gulping large amounts of water. Interestingly, the bowhead whale has the largest baleen plates of any whale: about 3 m (9.8 ft).

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General Conservation Status Of Different Whale Species

One sea creature that has suffered extreme exploitation is the whale. Here’s the current status of some well-known whale species.

Bryde's whale

Bryde’s Whale Off Phi Phi Islands, Thailand (Author: Morningdew cc by-sa 3.0)

Whales are magnificent, extremely large, and generally gentle sea mammals. Different species of whales have lived in the Earths’ waters for millions of years now but they are now threatened due to excessive whaling and uneven climatic changes.

Specifically, unregulated and relentless hunting in past centuries led to a sharp decrease in the population of most species of whales.

In fact, in some of the more severe cases, the current population is just a mere fraction of the pre-whaling population.

Initially, commercial whalers were monitored by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

However by 1986, due to the extreme depletion in the number of these creatures the IWC temporally banned whaling entirely.

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