PORT PHILLIP BAY


Blue Whale 

Balaenoptera musculus

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Cetacea
Family:
Balaenopteridae
Genus:
Balaenoptera
Species:
musculus

General Description

Upper body blue-grey, paler underneath. Lines (throat pleats) underneath from throat to middle of the body. Dorsal fin with curved edge. Tail wide with a pointed notch in the middle of the rear edge. Water spray from blowhole is a vertical jet more than 5 m high. Up to 33 m long.

Biology

Blue Whales feed on krill and usually swim alone or in widely-separated groups. They are the largest mammal alive. The Pygmy Blue Whale subspecies (more often seen in Victoria than Blue Whales) is smaller and has a shorter tail.

Habitat

Open oceans and near coastlines.

Open water

Distribution guide

Worldwide. Most Australian waters. Potentially near Port Phillip, recorded from Victoria.

Species Group

Mammals Whales and dolphins

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Surface Midwater

Max Size

33 m

Diet

Plankton or Particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Critically Endangered
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Endangered
  • IUCN Red List : Endangered
  • CITES : Trade restrictions (Appendix I)

Author

article author Fitzgerald, E.

Dr. Erich Fitzgerald is a Senior Curator of palaeontology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Jefferies, R.

Dr. Ryan Jefferies is a volunteer online editor at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Fitzgerald, E. & Jefferies, R., 2011, Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 21 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/4162

Text: creative commons cc by licence