Scott Hill/NOAA |
Identified by the lateral stripes that originate at their eyes, the striped dolphins are sometimes seen swimming alongside large ships off California and in the Atlantic, a behavior known as bow-riding.
In the eastern tropical Pacific, where they are also found, they tend to be shyer.
These dolphins are energetic swimmers, sometimes moving upside down and jumping as high as twenty feet (6 m) out of the water to do backward somersaults.
Social animals, they are commonly found in schools of up to five hundred individuals.
The size of the school depends on geographic location; those from the western Pacific, where they are more abundant, tend to be much larger than the groups in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
Schools may be classified according to age and breeding status.
Name: Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Family: Balaenopteridae (Rorquals)
Range: All major oceans of world
Habitat: Open ocean
Diet: Krill, other planktonic species, and small fish
Total Length: 79 to 89 feet (24 to 27 m); historically much larger
Weight: 220,000 to 330,000 pounds (100,000 to 150,000 kg); historically much larger
Life Cycle: Mating depends on locale; gestation 300 to 330 days, one calf born
Description: Slate to grayish blue skin; mottled with lighter spots; belly has yellowish tinge; short dorsal fin; wide upper jaw; blunt rostrum; throat grooves from chin to beyond naval
Conservation Status: Endangered
Major Threat: Habitat loss; poaching; pollution