Balaenopetra musculus or what we fondly call Blue Whales are the largest existing mammal on earth or probably the largest that has ever existed. This ninety eight feet long giant, which is 180-200 tones heavy, belongs to Baleen whales (mysticeti).
There are around three subspecies of blue whales, whose diet consists of small crustaceans called Krill. Tiny krill resembles to shrimps and are nearly one to six centimeters in length and are the staple food of the gigantic aquatic beats like the Whales and some sea birds. Mostly found in all the world’s oceans, the krill themselves feed on phytoplankton. Krill is the most important part of the aquatic food chain, especially for the whales, which can engulf around forty million krill weighing around forty eight thousand pounds per day.
The huge Blue Whale also conserves energy by holding its breath while diving into the water. In order to maintain its massive body size and ensure a sufficient supply of food, Blue Whales are found in the areas rich with the availability of krill. One such area where the krill are found in abundance is The Arctic Ocean. Not only this, in order to support their tremendous size and maximize the energy gain, the Blue Whale very intelligently and cleverly feeds on the densest krill and the highest quality krill patches. Although this heavy feeding phenomenon consumes a great amount of energy, but the gain sufficiently makes up for the energy loss.
Blue Whales optimized feeding method is the most prominent reason behind its continuous availability of food. Whales are highly choosy when it comes to food, as the krill density, highly affects their feeding patterns. A recent research is evident of this fact, as and when the krill density went down, there was a tremendous fall in the whale feeding pattern, whereas the giant aquatic mammal was found feeding comparatively more when the krill density went up/increased.
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