Although recently the population of blue whales has been discussed in the press and in the scientific literature (reviewed in ref. here), little is known about their behavior and breeding patterns. We do know that they are massive creatures, over one hundred metres in length with a very broad head and small elongated throat, short flippers and powerful tails. They have an alphabetic order, including A, B, C and D. These whales are among the most massive cetaceans and are considered the most vulnerable of all cetaceans. These facts alone indicate that these creatures need careful conservation management. However, recent research has shown that the whale population has been increasing since the late 1990s.
The increase in blue whale populations coincides with the large-scale reduction in hunting, especially of female blue whales, and coincides with a decrease in fishing gear use. Because fishing gear helps to decrease female whale kills, it has been suggested that reducing fishing gear use will reduce the whale populations. This seems to be borne out by recent studies of female killer whales in their natural habitat. However, even if fishing gear reduction did not reduce the population of blue whales, it could have had some beneficial impact on yellow and black bear population.
There are two primary sources of food for blue whales. These are the Southern Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Although they are a predatory species, they are also herbivores. They hunt fish, crustaceans, algae and snails using their powerful mouthpincers to pull their prey into the mouth. In fact, this behavior is similar to that of a seal.
When blue whales feed, they stir up the surface of the water and emit a gushing sound, much like that of a great white shark. This creates a bubble of air that is carried far into the upper ocean where many hungry fish swim around and grab the chagos from above. Once they are in the stomach of the hungry chagos, the whale will force the chagos to open its mouth and allow the whale to suck the chagos down its esophagus until the food is completely swallowed. A hungry blue whale can consume over its weight in food in an hour!
In addition to their main source of food at the surface of the ocean, blue whales travel in groups called pods. Pods can consist of one or several thousand whales and traveling in pods may follow certain routes to avoid collisions with other ships or whales. For instance, a pod of whales may head off to the closest coast and travel up the eastern slope of Alaska in search of walrus. Once they have fed on the walrus, the other pods in the pod will follow the same course.
One of the fascinating things about the blue whales is that they are capable of music. Like most creatures, they produce sounds through their throats and make sounds that can be compared to musical notes. These sounds are picked up by other ships and used for communication during harbors or in the event of a battle. This is how the modern day harbors began, with the harbors being used to communicate between military units.