What Types Of Whales Are The Largest On Earth

What Types Of Whales Are The Largest On Earth?

Whales have always aroused genuine interest in people, which is not surprising. These majestic giants surpass almost all dinosaurs in size, and among modern animals they have no equal. Who is the biggest of them all? Introducing the TOP 10 largest whales in the world.

What Types Of Whales Are The Largest On Earth

Humpback whale

Inhabitant of all oceans, except for the Arctic, and the seas adjacent to them, belongs to the minke family. Its body length is on average 14.5 m, and its weight reaches 30 tons. In rare cases, there are 18-meter individuals, respectively, and their weight approaches 35-36 tons. Distinctive features of the appearance of these whales are warty skin growths, located on the snout and pectoral fins, and an unusual dorsal fin resembling a hump. In addition, they have a special coloration that helps distinguish one individual from another. The humpback feeds on crustaceans, fish and molluscs. He is famous for his habit of vigorously jumping out of the water in an upright position, the meaning of which scientists have not yet figured out.


A rare whale of the family of striped whales, it is considered an endangered species. it can reach up to 18m, and in rare cases, up to 20 meters. Its weight reaches 30 tons. It lives in all oceans, avoiding very cold waters of the Antarctic and Arctic, as well as too warm tropical zones. It tries to stay alone or in a couple, in places where food accumulates, it can adjoin herds of several dozen individuals. Black-eyed crustaceans form the basis of the diet of whales common in the southern hemisphere. Representatives of northern latitudes eat fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Gray whale

Whales with a characteristic grayish-brown color are common in the cold, temperate and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. They prefer coastal areas and can keep in shallow waters. Here they feed on bottom organisms, scooping them up with a huge mouth along with silt and pebbles and then filtering them through a whalebone. The maximum body length of these power-law giants is 15 m, and the mass does not exceed 35 tons. Gray whales are the leaders among mammals in travelling long distances during seasonal migration, they can swim a distance of 19 thousand km per year.

Sperm whale

The largest representative of the suborder of toothed whales. It grows in length up to 20 m, and the mass can reach 50 tons. The sperm whale shouldn’t be confused with any other whale due to very striking external differences. Its huge head, compressed at the sides and pointed, appears rectangular in profile. It makes up at least a quarter of the total body length. The mouth is at the bottom of the head, with the jaw dropping down 90 degrees. These whales are widespread in all oceans; only icy polar waters avoid. They feed mostly on cephalopods, they also eat fish, but in small quantities.

Southern smooth whale

A member of the family of smooth whales. Inhabits the southern subpolar and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Its body length reaches 18 m, and its weight – up to 80 tons. The color of individuals can vary greatly, there are both light brown and almost black whales. Skin growths on the head help identify animals, the location of which is unique for each specimen. The right whale has a curious and outgoing character, for which it previously often became relatively easy prey for whalers. After 1937, hunting for this species of whale was prohibited.

Northern smooth whale

It belongs to the same family as the southern right whale, and is very similar in size and appearance. The body length reaches 18 m and weighs about 80 tons. Its habitat is the northern latitudes of the Atlantic Ocean. It feeds on crustaceans and fish, filtering them through a whalebone. Whales of this species usually stay near feeding places, in the coastal zone, which became the reason for their mass extermination. Up to date, the number of northern smooth whales is about 300-450 individuals. Despite the fact that hunting for these whales has been completely banned, the population is practically not recovering. Each year, researchers record more deaths of northern giants than births of babies.

Japanese whale

Another representative of the family of smooth whales, it differs from the southern and northern relatives in larger sizes: body length can reach 18.5 m, weight – up to 80 kg. It lives in the North Pacific Ocean and gives birth to young off the coast of Japan. Like other smooth whales, the Japanese whale has been heavily hunted, bringing the species to the brink of extinction. At the moment, there are about 500 individuals left in the world. The recovery of the population is proceeding at an extremely low rate, since females are ready for reproduction only at the age of 6 to 12 years and give birth at the same time only 1 baby every 3-4 years.

Fin whale

Refers to minke whales. Distributed in all oceans, does not even avoid the waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. Stays away from coastal areas, does not migrate from the southern hemisphere to the northern or vice versa. For this reason, some scientists distinguish 2 subspecies of these whales: northern and southern. Inhabitants of northern latitudes are usually smaller, their maximum length is 24 m. Southern representatives of fin whales grow up to 27 m, while their weight can approach 70 tons. Planktonic crustaceans form the basis of the diet of these whales, less often fish. Like many other cetacean species, fin whales are endangered. In most countries of the world, hunting them is prohibited.

Bowhead whale

The largest of the family of smooth whales, the only representative of the genus Balaena, has chosen the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere. He tries not to be directly among the ice, but when this does happen, he makes his way, splitting ice floes up to 22 cm thick. The body length of female whales of this species reaches 22 m, and the mass is 150 tons. Due to such an impressive size, they swim very slowly, at a speed of about 20 km / h. This slowness made the whales easy prey for whalers, since they could catch up with the giant even on an ordinary rowboat. Now hunting bowhead whales is prohibited. According to scientists, there are about 10,000 individuals in the modern population.

Blue whale

The largest whale and he is also the largest representative of mammals. The record length of its body is 33 m, and its weight reaches 150 tons and more. It reaches this size by feeding on plankton and small fish. It lives in the waters of all oceans, but is quite rare. Due to the mass extermination in the early twentieth century, the number of blue whales has declined significantly. According to the latest data, there are no more than 10,000 of them left. Hunting for them is prohibited, but pollution of the seas and other anthropogenic factors pose a serious threat to the modern population.

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