Bowhead whale


Bowhead whale[1]
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene[2]
Photograph of two bowhead whales seen from above
Bowhead whale size.svg
Size compared to an average human
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[4]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenidae
Genus: Balaena
Species:
B. mysticetus
Binomial name
Balaena mysticetus
Cypron-Range Balaena mysticetus.svg
Bowhead whale range

The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is a species of baleen whale belonging to the family Balaenidae and is the only living representative of the genus Balaena. It is the only baleen whale endemic to the Arctic and subarctic waters, and is named after its characteristic massive triangular skull, which it uses to break through Arctic ice. Other common names of the species included the Greenland right whale, Arctic whale, steeple-top, and polar whale.[5]

Bowheads have the largest mouth of any animal[6] representing almost one-third of the length of the body, the longest baleen plates with a maximum length of 4 metres (13 feet)[7] and may be the longest-lived mammals, with the ability to reach an age of more than 200 years.[8]

The bowhead was an early whaling target. Their population was severely reduced before a 1966 moratorium was passed to protect the species. Of the five stocks of bowhead populations, three are listed as "endangered", one as "vulnerable", and one as "lower risk, conservation dependent" according to the IUCN Red List. The global population is assessed as of least concern.[3][9]

  1. ^ Mead, J. G.; Brownell, R. L. Jr. (2005). "Order Cetacea". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 723–743. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ "Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus 1758 (bowhead whale)". Fossilworks.
  3. ^ a b Cooke, J.G.; Reeves, R. (2018). "Balaena mysticetus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T2467A50347659. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T2467A50347659.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  5. ^ Scammon, Charles M. (1874) The Marine Mammals of the North-Western Coast of North America, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, ISBN 1-59714-061-9.
  6. ^ Guinness World Records (14 November 2007). "Whale of a time!". Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  7. ^ Fisheries, NOAA (27 June 2019). "Bowhead Whale | NOAA Fisheries". www.fisheries.noaa.gov. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  8. ^ George, John C.; Bada, Jeffrey; Zeh, Judith; Scott, Laura; Brown, Stephen E.; O'Hara, Todd; Suydam, Robert (1999). "Age and growth estimates of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) via aspartic acid racemization". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 77 (4): 571–580. doi:10.1139/cjz-77-4-571. ISSN 1480-3283.
  9. ^ Fisheries, NOAA. "Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus): NOAA Fisheries". www.fisheries.noaa.gov. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.

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