The biggest whale in the world by weight is the blue whale, also called by the scientific name Balaenoptera musculosa. It has an official measurement of 98 feet (28.9 m) in length, and just barely weighs in at less than one ton. That puts this animal right up there with other massive animals like tigers and hippos. This massive marine mammal gets its name from the blue surface of the ocean where it resides.
These enormous animals have evolved over millions of years and are unique among vertebrates. They are carnivores and their diet consists mostly of fish and small unicellular animals. They have very powerful sonar, hearing, and eyesight to hunt prey. And they move slowly, as fast as 6 miles an hour – a speed faster than the blink of an eye. And while some species of blue whales have been known to reach up to forty feet in length, the biggest specimen was only thirty seven feet long.
The Balaenoptera has evolved in different habitats across Earth and though some populations live in fresh waters in some parts of the North Pacific, many are found in saltwater oceans and coastal waters in tropical regions. Many migrate to warmer waters in South America and the Pacific for breeding purposes. They are very adaptable and can live in various kinds of harsh conditions including cold, bright sunlight, high altitudes, and dense forests. Blue, gray, and white whales are the most common types of migratory whales.
There are several species of blue whales, the most famous of which is the Humpback. The Balaenoptera has gray, black, or blue skin, as well as a white underside with dark stripes. They have small, soft-plastic bodies and big, solid flippers. They can grow to lengths of over sixteen feet. Their teeth are long and their snout is short like that of a walrus.
Biggest Whales in the World
The sperm whale is the third-largest species of mammal in the ocean. Sperm whales can grow to over sixteen feet in length, with the giant sperm whale reaching twenty seven feet. Their torsos are stretched forward like that of a fish and they have four toes. Their beaks are long, wide, smooth and fairly sharp.
The last of the mammals on this list is the Great Blue, a small walnut-like whale that can grow to one meter in length. It is the smallest known predatory mammal and is a vital link in the food chain. It feeds by ambush, diving, swimming by leaping into holes, and attacking small creatures that come too close. Its lifespan is somewhere between thirty and forty years.
The fourth biggest whale in the world happens to be the pilot whale, which is the largest predatory cetacean. It can grow to lengths up to nine meters. It has the longest bill, at almost four meters long. It also has a very long neck, measuring over three meters, and it has two large fins. Like all other pilot whales it has black and white stripes along its back, throat, breast, and fins.
The last two representatives of the mammal kingdom are the gray whales (also called Pacific sleeper whales) and the albacore. Gray whales are the largest predator in coastal waters, with their annual average weight reaching up to twenty tons. They live in warm, tropical environments. While albacores live mostly in cool, temperate waters, gray whales are found in warmer, more cold environments. They feed primarily on baleen, although they also eat smaller fish and squid.
In order to qualify as the biggest whale in the world, it has to exceed the length of the cruise ships that it is traveling on by eight meters. It has to be over ten thousand tons in weight, and it has to have at least two feet long when fully mature. Even though these requirements are currently being considered, there is still an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is possible to classify all whales under this criterion. Some marine scientists believe it is impossible to measure these giants accurately, because of the rate of growth and the way in which the animal grows.
The largest whales are of course the blue whales. They are also the most protected animals in the world, and are allowed to live in captivity. They can live for up to 100 years, and their lifespan is calculated at between sixty and eighty years. Some people believe that the age of the largest whales might be much greater, but there is no way to confirm this fact.