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Latest Study : The blue whale’s daily meal is 16 tons of crustaceans

The first study of its kind to systematically calculate how much food blue whales and some very close species eat, came up with a simple answer: too much.

The blue whale , the largest animal known to Earth in its history, eats about 16 tons of small fish known as krill daily in the North Pacific Ocean.

Scientists said Wednesday that the whale devours these small crustaceans that resemble shrimp ( prawns ) through a feeding system that contains a filter or filter in the mouth using baleen plates, which contain keratin, the natural substance found in human fingernails.

“That’s the weight of a full-load school bus,” said study co-author Nick Benson, a curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington

The researchers calculated the daily food entering the abdomen of seven species of baleen whales, monitoring 321 whales individually in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from 2010 to 2019. They found that these giant marine mammals eat up to three times the amount of food previously estimated. They were based on the contents of the stomachs of hunted whales or by deduction based on smaller marine mammals.

The study included other species including the humpback whale, the fin whale, the bowhead whale, the right whale, the Antarctic minke whale and the Bryde’s whale , all of which also devoured amazing amounts of food.

A humpback whale in the North Pacific Ocean can eat nine tons of crustaceans per day, while fin whales consume eight tons.

“This is an unimaginable amount of food,” said Stanford University marine biologist Matthew Savoca, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature. “But the sizes of large whales themselves are unimaginable. A blue whale is the size and weight of a Boeing 737.”

The blue whale, which is larger than the huge dinosaurs , can reach 33 meters in length and weigh up to 200 tons.

Most baleen whales do not eat all seasons and have an annual hunger cycle.

The whales eat about 100 days a year, usually in the summer breeding season , and eat less the rest of the year.

Based on these statistics, a blue whale that eats 16 tons per day, may eat 1,600 tons annually

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