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Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus
Photo by Thomas M. Johnson

Blue whales are the largest creatures ever to exist on earth, surpassing even the dinosaurs, reaching a maximum length of 110 feet and weighing up to 200 tons. They are primarily grayish-blue with lighter colored spots; they have a tiny dorsal fin. This species is easily identified by its blow, an impressive tall column of spray up to 27 feet high. The population status in California (around 2,000 animals, of a global population of perhaps 10,000) is unique in that it is one of the only recovering blue whale populations in the world.

Blue Whale
(Balaenoptera musculus)

Both temperate and tropical offshore waters, possibly worldwide

Offshore, open ocean

Krill (tiny shrimplike crustaceans)


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
Blue whales have the loudest voice and lowest frequency vocalization of any animal on the planet. Reaching as low as 14 Hz with volumes up to 200 decibels, blue whales' vocalizations can travel for thousands of miles across the deep ocean.

Learn More
- The National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture