Bowhead Whale

Bowhead Whales can make hundreds of distinct songs they use to communicate with one another.
Bowhead Whale Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Balaena mysticetus
Bowhead Whale Physical Characteristics
8,000 to 12,000
Unknown, but may be 200 years or more
Top speed
6.2 mph
75 to 100 ton
Bowhead Whale Distribition

Bowhead Whales got their title due to their very massive triangular cranium that they use to interrupt by heavy ice to return up for air.

Bowhead Whales stay within the very chilly Arctic and subarctic waters. Bowheads are believed to be the longest-residing mammal; they’ll stay for 200 years or extra. They’ve the biggest mouth of any whales and extra blubber than every other animal. Bowheads are additionally generally referred to as Russian Whales, Greenland Proper Whales, Arctic Whales, Steeple-Tops, or Polar Whales.

5 Unimaginable Bowhead Whale Information!

  • A Bowhead Whale’s mouth is bigger than every other animal’s mouth.
  • These whales have the longest lifespan of any mammal. They will stay for 200 years or extra. Study concerning the longest-residing animals right here.
  • Bowhead Whales can use their massive and highly effective cranium to interrupt by ice that’s as much as 24 inches thick.
  • Although it’s fairly massive, they’re able to leap utterly out from the water.
  • A Bowhead Whale has two blow-holes.

Try extra unbelievable info about bowhead whales.

Bowhead Whale Classification and Scientific Name

The Bowhead Whale’s scientific title is Balaena mysticetus. Balaena is the genus of whales that these whales belong to. Mysticetus is derived from the Greek phrase mystikētos, which implies whale. Bowhead Whales are often known as Greenland Proper Whales or Arctic Whales. They’re additionally generally referred to a Steep-Tops, Russian Whales, or Polar Whales by American whalemen.

Bowhead Whales belong to the Family Balaenidae. There are two genuses on this household. They’re Balaena, the genus of Bowhead Whales, and Eubalaena, the genus of Proper Whales. Bowhead Whales are within the Mammalia class.

Bowhead Whale Appearance

These whales are darkish in colour besides for his or her white chin and decrease jaw. They got their title due to their massive cranium that’s almost triangular in form. Bowhead Whales use this massive and highly effective cranium to push by the arctic ice and are available up for air.

These whale’s baleen, the feeding system inside their mouth, is bigger than that of every other whale. It’s about 9.8 toes lengthy and permits this whale to catch and pressure very small prey within the water.

One other distinctive characteristic of a Bowhead Whale is that they’ve a pair of blow-holes. These blow-holes are situated on the tip of their head and are able to spouting water as much as 20 toes excessive. These whales even have the thickest blubber of any animal. Their blubber could be as much as 20 inches thick.

Whereas most whales and different cetaceans have dorsal fins, the Bowhead Whale doesn’t. That is an adaptation that enables this species to spend extra time beneath ice on the floor of the water.

Bowhead Whales have a median size of fifty to 60 toes. They usually weigh between 75 and 100 tons. Females are usually bigger than males.

Two bowhead whales
Two bowhead whales

Bowhead Whale Distribution, Inhabitants, and Habitat

These whales stay within the chilly Arctic and subarctic saltwater water. Their precise vary and site can range based mostly on how a lot ice has shaped or melted because of local weather modifications. They are often discovered a bit farther south in the course of the winter months however will head north when ice begins breaking apart or receding within the spring. This species could be discovered within the Hudson Bay, Foxe Basin, Bering Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, Sea of Okhotsk, and the water between japanese Siberia and Greenland/Spitsbergen. They usually don’t dive too deep beneath the floor. They might go as much as 500 toes beneath the floor at occasions, although.

It’s not utterly clear what the precise inhabitants of the Bowhead Whale is, however it’s estimated that there are between 8,000 and 12,000 members of this species left. The worldwide inhabitants has a conservation standing of Least Concern. There are 5 totally different Bowhead inhabitants shares situated in numerous areas.

One inventory could be discovered within the Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. It’s estimated that there are about 14,400 whales on this inventory. The variety of Whales within the Western Arctic Inventory has been rising every year by about 3.7%. It’s estimated that the variety of whales on this inventory could also be virtually again to its pre-whaling ranges.

The Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin inventory of those whales probably has a inhabitants of about 500 or 600. The inhabitants of the Svalbard-Barents Sea inventory is presently unknown, however this inventory is taken into account endangered because of a drastic lower within the variety of whales through the years. The Sea of Okhotsk inventory is one other endangered group of Bowhead Whales. There are most likely lower than 400 whales left on this inventory.

Bowhead Whale Predators and Prey

What Threatens the Bowhead Whale?

These whales wouldn’t have many pure predators because of their massive dimension. A pod of Killer Whales could generally prey on a Bowhead Whale.

Humans are the best risk to Bowhead Whales. Earlier than industrial whaling was ended, the inhabitants of those whales noticed a big lower. They’re hunted for his or her meat, blubber, baleen, bones, and oil. As a gradual swimmer who floats when useless, they had been usually focused by industrial whalers. At present, these whales are hunted by a small inhabitants of native folks in North America, however nowhere close to the degrees they had been hunted in the course of the days of economic whaling.

What Do Bowhead Whales Eat?

These whales east amphipods, crustaceans, copepods, and different zooplankton. Every day, they eat about two quick tons of meals. The mouth of the whale consists of a whole bunch of plates of baleen that overlap each other. The baleen works to filter meals from the water that passes by it because the whale swims. Prey turns into trapped contained in the baleen near the whale’s tongue, the place they’ll be capable of swallow it. Animals that use this methodology of feeding are referred to as filter feeders.

Bowhead Whale Copy and Lifespan

It’s estimated that these whales attain sexual maturity someplace between the ages of 10 and 15. Their breeding season takes place from March to August, although it’s more than likely that conception takes place in March since that is when there may be the best quantity of tune exercise. Bowhead Whales could interact in sexual exercise in pairs or in a gaggle that’s made up of quite a few males and only one or two females.

Female Whales usually give beginning to a stay calf about each three or 4 years. The gestation interval is about 13 or 14 months lengthy. After a calf is born, it’s going to nurse for a few 12 months.

Bowhead calves are able to swimming independently inside half-hour of being born. The calves are between 13 and 15 toes and weigh about 2,200 kilos at beginning. By the top of their first 12 months of life, they are going to be about 27 toes lengthy. Since these whales stay within the chilly Arctic waters, calves are born with a really thick layer of blubber to maintain them heat.

The precise lifespan of those whales is unknown, however scientists imagine they’re the longest-residing mammal. Many Bowhead Whales could stay to be over 200 years outdated. Researchers from Australia’s Nationwide Science Company hypothesized that the longest a Bowhead Whale might stay is 268 years because of their genome sequence.

Bowhead Whale in Fishing and Cooking

It’s unlawful to hunt these whales in most areas. The Iñupiat and St Lawrence Island Siberian Yupik, two native Alaskan teams, are permitted to hunt them on a subsistence stage. This implies they’re solely allowed to hunt small numbers of whales to help their populations.

These teams do use the meat and blubber from the whales in cooking. Muktuk is one meal produced from the pores and skin and blubber of a Bowhead Whale. Historically, this meal was eaten uncooked, however now it could even be deep-fried.


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  2. WWF, Available here:
  3. Merriam Webster, Available here:,%2C%20the%20whale%20so%20called%E2%80%9D)
  4. Oceanwide Expeditions, Available here:,face%20is%20the%20Killer%20Whale.
  5. Enchanted Learning, Available here:,whales%20are%20an%20endangered%20species.&text=Bowhead%20whales%20(Balaena%20mysticetus)%20are,baleen%20whales%20(Suborder%20Mysticeti).
  6. Arctic Kingdom, Available here:
  7. NOAA Fisheries, Available here:

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