A closer look at baleen whales from the sub order, Mysticeti the largest animals in the planet.
Whales are the largest animals on the planet. They come from the order Cetacea, an order which also includes the dolphins and porpoises. Under Cetacea there are two sub-orders, the Mysticeti and the Odontoceti. From these two sub-orders, whale species are spread. The sub-order Mysticeti or Baleen Whales refers to whale species without teeth but which has characteristics of a baleen, a filtering structure in the upper jaw made of keratin used to strain plankton from water. The sub-order Odonticeti or Toothed Whales are easily identified from the first order because of teeth structures. The blue whales are among the largest of the baleen whales. They were difficult to measure considering their size and during capture in the past with whale hunters, they were usually cut in parts to be conveniently transported that actual measurement had become an approximation. The nearest approximation of a captured specimen was at 32.9 meters (108 feet) in length and 172 metric tons (190 short tons) or more in weight. They are the largest animal to have ever existed even bigger that most dinosaur fossils unearthed. Below are some of the most common baleen whale species for your consideration, however grand in size, they feed upon the smallest planktons and schools of fish and continued to be threatened by the most lethal of all creatures in the animal kingdom barely 1/15 of its largest size (by length), humans. (by weight, imagine an average 90 kg human being against an average 172,000 kgs)
Baleen , the filtering structure in baleen whales
Bowhead Whale – or Balaena mysticetus are also known as Greenland Right Whale or Arctic Whale. This baleen whale belongs to the right whale family Balaenidae, characterized by a stocky dark-colored body without the dorsal fin. It is estimated to grow up to 20 meters (66 feet) in length and attains weight up to 136 tons. This type of whales confines its life only in Arctic waters and do not migrate for feeding or reproduction. They were touted to have the largest mouth in the world.
North Pacific Right Whale – Eubalaena japonica is another baleen whale characterized by large robust body structure, which is common sight in the Northern Pacific until 1840 when whaling has radically reduced their numbers. This species frequent the southeastern Bering Sea, North Atlantic, Kuril and Sakhalin islands in Russia. Lately this species had been placed among the most endangered species in the planet. Adult sizes ranges from 18.3 meters (60 feet) in length.