The Ultimate Baleen Whale Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Baleen whales are some of the largest creatures in the world. In fact, the blue whale is a type of baleen whale, is the largest creature to have ever lived. It is hard to imagine a creature that is large enough to swallow a small school bus in one gulp. Take this quiz to learn more about baleen whales.

How are whales categorized?

There are two groups of whales: those with teeth, known as odontoceti whales, and those without teeth, known as baleen or mysticeti whales.


If baleen whales don't have teeth, how do they eat?

Baleen whales use filter feeding. This means that, when they open their mouths, a lot of water comes in carrying many small pieces of food with it. The whales then filter out the food from the water.


How do baleens filter their food?

Baleens have many plates in their mouths with coarse bristles. These help to trap food, such as krill, small fish and plankton so that they remain in the whale's mouth while the water is allowed to flow out. This is why the baleen whale is also called mysticeti, which means "mustached whale," since the bristles in the whale's mouth make it appear as if it had a mustache.


How many blowhole openings do baleen whales have?

Baleen whales have two openings in their blowholes, while odontoceti only have one. Other differences between baleens and odontoceti are that baleens move slower, baleens usually have a smaller dorsal fin and are larger than tooth whales.


How many tons of food can a baleen whale eat each day?

Baleen whales can take in four tons of food in a day. Larger baleens can eat the equivalent of 4 percent of their body weight each day!


The 11 types of baleen whales are divided into how many groups?

There are four different families of baleen whales. These are the Eschrichtiidae family (the gray whale), the Balaenopoteridae family (the humpback, blue, fin, sei, Bryde's and minke whales), the Balaenidae family or right whales (bowhead, northern right and southern right whales), and the Neobalaenidae family (the pygmy whale).


How did the Balaenidae whales get the name right whales?

Right whales have large amounts of oil and blubber, which made them right for hunting -- hence the name right whales.


In which motion does a baleen whale's tail move?

A baleen propels itself by moving its tail up and down, rather than the side-to-side movement that most fish use.


Baleen whales do not have:

Baleen whales do not have vocal chords. However, they are still able to make low frequency noises that sound like belches or moans, which they use to communicate with other whales. Baleens have an acute sense of hearing and it is thought that they can communicate with whales that are hundreds of kilometers away.


Which type of whale has the longest flippers?

Humpback whales have flippers that can grow as long as a third of the length of the whale.


Which is the biggest whale?

The blue whale is they biggest whale, growing to almost 100 feet long and weighing in at around 200 tons. Baleen whales are generally among the biggest in the ocean, with the exception of the pygmy right whale, which grows to only 20 feet (6 meters) long. Females are generally large than males.


Baleen plates are made from keratin. In which part of the human body would you find keratin?

Human fingernails and hair is made of the same material as the keratin plates that whales use to filter their food. The keratin is worn down by the whale's tongue but, just like hair and fingernails, it grows back.


How many baleen plates would you find in a humpback whale's mouth?

Whales have hundreds of baleen plates -- the humpback whale has 400 plates in its mouth. Each plate is 25 to 30 inches (76 cm) long, 13 inches wide and less than 0.2 inches thick.


Different whales eat using different methods. How do right whales feed?

Right whales skim the water surface with an open mouth, scooping up plankton that live on the ocean's surface. Rorqual whales dive deep into the ocean and take a big gulp of water, while gray whales swim on the ocean floor, sucking up mud and dirt like a vacuum cleaner and filtering out the food within it.


How many gallons of water does a rorqual whale ingest when it gulps?

A rorqual whale can take in about 18,000 gallons of water when it gulps, equal to the volume of a school bus. Within a few seconds, the whale doubles its weight as the water rushes in. When it closes its mouth, the water is filtered out through the baleen plates and out the side of the mouth, trapping about 20 pounds of prey. This exhausts the whale, which hunts for about only four hours a day.


Krill and plankton that whales feed on disappear in the winter. What do whales do to compensate for this?

Baleen whales migrate to warmer waters in the winter months, where they need less energy to keep warm and therefore less food. During the summer months, the whales eat a lot in order to prepare for the migration trip and the lack of prey during the winter.


Pregnant female baleen whales increase their food intake by how much in the second half of their gestation period?

Baleen whales are pregnant for 10 to 14 months. In the second half of the gestation period, baleen whales increase their food intake by 50 to 60 percent. They store this food in order to feed their calves. Newly pregnant females leave for colder waters shortly after mating in order to start bulking up before they return to the warmer waters to give birth.


What do baleen calves eat?

Baleen calves drink milk from their mothers for the first year. The milk contains about 40 percent fat, which helps to fatten up the calves so that they can migrate to colder waters and feed. Blue whales can gain around 200 pounds each day from their mother's milk.


Who preys on baleen whales?

Despite the size of the baleen whales, killer whales are a predator of the baleen whale. Killer whales team up to take on the baleen whales and some sharks also attack them. However, humans are the baleen whales' greatest threat, hunting them for everything from makeup to lamp oil. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling.


How did the phrase "getting a whaling" come about?

Baleen plates are strong but flexible, and were used to create items such as corsets, hoop skirts and whips. The phrase came about because whips were often made from whale baleen.


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