June 2018: Beluga Whale

Common Name  Beluga Whale
Scientific Name  Delphinapterus leucas
Alternate Names  Beluga, Belukha, Canary of the Sea, Sea Canary, White, White Whale
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Monodontidae Delphinapterus
 Least Concern  Diurnal  Social  Carnivore
 Asia, Europe, North America  Marine Neritic, Marine Oceanic
 3-5 m. | 9-17 ft.
  500-1,600 kg. | 1,100-3,500 lb.  32-40 yr.
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The beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas,) is the most abundant of the Arctic cetaceans and is the only whale that is completely white. Although they are born gray and gradually fade to white as they age, their signature color defines them, even granting them the nickname, the “white whale.” They are also the most vocal species of cetaceans granting them another name, the “canary of the sea,” as they emit high-pitched sounds that replicate those of birds. With extra thick skin and nearly 50% of their bodies made up of blubber, belugas are made to survive the cold temperatures of the Arctic waters, however, they possess the ability to live in both salt and fresh waters, and migrate to river mouths to deliver offspring and participate in an annual molting of old skin. Listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, belugas face little risk and their populations number in the thousands.

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