Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Balaena mysticetus

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Balaena mysticetus (Bowhead Whale)

Where found: The bowhead spends all of its life in fertile Arctic waters, unlike other whales that migrate for feeding or reproduction.

Description: Bowhead whales are robust-bodied, dark-colored animals with no dorsal fin and a strongly bowed lower jaw and narrow upper jaw. The baleen plates, exceeding three meters and the longest of the baleen whales, are used to strain tiny prey from the water. The whales have massive bony skulls which they use to break from beneath the ice to breathe. Some Inuit hunters have reported whales surfacing through 60 cm (2 ft) of ice in this method. Bowheads may reach lengths of up to 20 metres and females are larger than males.