Beluga whale

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Beluga whale, a marine mammal
noun - The beluga whale or white whale is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus. It is commonly referred to simply as the beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter.

Belugas are popular in aquariums due to their color and expressivity.

Contents

Characteristics

It is adapted to life in the Arctic, so has a number of anatomical and physiological characteristics that differentiate it from other cetaceans including its all-white color, the absence of a dorsal fin and a high percentage of blubber in its stocky body. The beluga’s size is between that of a dolphin’s and a true whale’s, a male can be up to 5.5 m (18 ft) long and it can weigh up to 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Its sense of hearing is highly developed and it possesses echolocation, which allows it to move about and find blowholes under sheet ice.

Belugas are gregarious and they form groups of up to 10 animals on average, although during the summer months, they can gather in the hundreds or even thousands in estuaries and shallow coastal areas. They are slow swimmers, but they can dive down to 700 m (2,300 ft) below the surface. They are opportunistic feeders and their diets vary according to their locations and the season. They mainly eat fish, crustaceans and other deep-sea invertebrates.

The majority of belugas live in the arctic and the seas and coasts around North America, Russia and Greenland; their worldwide population is thought to number around 150,000 individuals. They are migratory, the majority of the groups spend the winter around the arctic ice cap, but when the sea ice melts in summer, they move to warmer river estuaries and coastal areas.

Slang

Beluga is a slang term describing an athlete in the open water swimming community who weights 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) or more.

That beluga has incredible endurance, but he really excels at ice swimming.

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