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Encyclopedia > Gray Whale
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Gray Whale
Conservation status: Lower risk
A Gray Whale spy-hopping
A Gray Whale spy-hopping
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Eschrichtiidae
Ellerman & Morrison-Scott, 1951
Genus: Eschrichtius
Species: E. robustus
Eschrichtius robustus
Lilljeborg, 1861
Gray Whale range
Gray Whale range

The Gray Whale or Grey Whale (Eschrichtius robustus), more recently called the Eastern Pacific Gray Whale, is a whale that travels between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of about 15 meters, a weight of 36 tons and an age of 50–60 years. Gray Whales were once called devil fish because of their fighting behavior when hunted. The Gray Whale is the sole species in the genus Eschrichtius, which in turn is the sole genus in the family Eschrichtiidae. This animal is one of the oldest species of mammals, having been on Earth for about 30 million years. In the remote past it was preyed upon by Megalodon sharks (which are now extinct). This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms (as opposed to folk taxonomy). ... Binomial name Aptenodytes forsteri Gray, 1844 For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascidiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Orders Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Eutheria (includes extinct ancestors)/Placentalia (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata (extinct) Perissodactyla Pholidota Plesiadapiformes... Eutheria is a taxon (specifically, an infraclass) nearly synonymous with Placentalia, containing the placental mammals and the nearest ancestors of placental mammals (which are known only from the fossil record). ... Suborders Mysticeti Odontoceti (see text for families) The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. ... Families Balaenidae Balaenopteridae Eschrichtiidae Neobalaenidae Scientifically known as the Mysticeti, the baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form a suborder of the order cetacea. ... In biology, binomial nomenclature is the formal method of naming species. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Download high resolution version (1357x628, 33 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Whales are the largest species of exclusively aquatic mammals, members of the order Cetacea, which also includes dolphins and porpoises. ... In biology, a genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic grouping. ... Scientific classification or biological classification refers to how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ... Binomial name Carcharodon megalodon Agassiz, 1843 // Overview The Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon, from ancient Greek, megalos + don, lit. ...

Contents


Population, distribution and migration

Two Pacific Ocean populations of Gray Whales exist: one small population travelling between the Sea of Okhotsk and southern Korea, and a larger one travelling between the waters off Alaska and the Baja California. A third, North Atlantic, population was hunted to extinction 300 years ago. Map of the Sea of Okhotsk. ... Korea (한국, Hanguk, or ì¡°ì„ , Choson) is a civilization and geographical area situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, bordering China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait. ... Official language(s) English Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 1st 1,717,854 km² 1,300 km 2,380 km 13. ... Baja California is the northernmost state of Mexico. ... The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest ocean, covering approximately one-fifth of the earths its surface. ...


In the fall, the California Gray Whale starts a 2–3 month, 8,000–11,000 km trip south along the west coast of the United States and Mexico. The animals travel in small groups. The destinations of the whales are the coastal waters of Baja California and the southern Sea of Cortez, where they breed and the young are born. The breeding behavior is complex and often involves three or more animals. The gestation period is about one year, and females have calves every other year. The calf is born tail first and measures about 4 meters in length. It is believed that the shallow waters in the lagoons there protect the newborn from sharks. A kilometre (American spelling: kilometer), symbol: km is a unit of length in the metric system equal to 1000 metres (from the Greek words χίλια (khilia) = thousand and μέτρο (metro) = count/measure). ... Baja California (highlighted) Baja California or Lower California is a peninsula in the west of Mexico. ... The Gulf of California (highlighted) The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez or Sea of Cortés; locally known in the Spanish language as Mar de Cortés or, much less frequently, Golfo de California) is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula... Orders Carcharhiniformes Heterodontiformes Hexanchiformes Lamniformes Orectolobiformes Pristiophoriformes Squaliformes Squatiniformes Sharks are a group (superorder Selachimorpha) of fish, with a full cartilaginous skeleton, a streamlined body plan, with normally 5, but up to 7 (depending on species) gill slits along the side of, or beginning slightly behind, the head (in some...


After several weeks, the return trip starts. This round trip of 16,000–22,000 km, at an average speed of 10 km/h, is believed to be the longest yearly migration of any mammal. A whale watching industry has sprung up along the coast. Orders Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Eutheria (includes extinct ancestors)/Placentalia (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata (extinct) Perissodactyla Pholidota Plesiadapiformes... Whale watching off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine. ...


Feeding

The whale feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans which it eats by turning on its side (usually the right) and scooping up the sediments (usually on the right) from the sea floor. It is classified as a baleen whale and has a baleen, or whalebone, which acts like a sieve to capture amphipods taken in along with sand, water and other material. Mostly, the animal feeds in the northern waters during the summer; and opportunistically feeds during its migration trip, and mainly lives off its extensive fat reserves. In oceanography, marine geology and biology, benthos are the organisms and habitats of the sea floor; in freshwater biology they are the organisms and habitats of the bottoms of lakes, rivers, and creeks. ... Classes & Subclasses Class Branchiopoda Subclass Phyllopoda Subclass Sarsostraca Class Remipedia Class Cephalocarida Class Maxillopoda Subclass Thecostraca Subclass Tantulocarida Subclass Branchiura Subclass Pentastomida Subclass Mystacocarida Subclass Copepoda Class Ostracoda Subclass Myodocopa Subclass Podocopa Class Malacostraca Subclass Phyllocarida Subclass Hoplocarida Subclass Eumalacostraca The crustaceans (Crustacea) are a large group of arthropods (55... Families Balaenidae Balaenopteridae Eschrichtiidae Neobalaenidae Scientifically known as the Mysticeti, the baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form a suborder of the order cetacea. ... Families about 200 partial list Alpheidae Ampeliscidae Amphilochidae Ampithoidae Anisogammaridae Aoridae Artesiidae Bogideillidae Bosminidae Caprellidae Corophiidae Crangonyctidae Eusiridae Gammaridae Hadziidae Haustoriidae Iphimediidae Ischyroceridae Leucothoidae Liljeborgiidae Lysianassidae Melitidae Phoxocephalidae Sebidae Talitridae Amphipoda (amphipods) include about 4600 different species of small, shrimp_like crustaceans. ...


Physical description

A Gray Whale viewed from above
A Gray Whale viewed from above

Gray Whales are covered by characteristic gray-white patterns, scars left by parasites which drop off in the cold feeding grounds. grey whale aerial image, public domain NOAA File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... grey whale aerial image, public domain NOAA File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ...


Conservation and human interaction

The only predators of adult Gray Whales are humans and orcas. After the California Gray Whales' breeding grounds were discovered in 1857, the animals were hunted to near extinction there. After harvesting became inefficient because of dwindling numbers, the population recovered slowly, but with the advent of factory ships in the 20th century, the numbers declined again. Gray Whales have been granted protection from commercial hunting by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1946, and are no longer hunted on a large scale. This article is about modern humans. ... Binomial name Orcinus orca Linnaeus, 1758 Orca range (in blue) The orca (Orcinus orca) is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling on December 2, 1946 with a headquarters in Cambridge, England. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


Limited hunting of Gray Whales has continued since that time, however, primarily in the Chukotka region of eastern Siberia, where large numbers of Gray Whales spend the summer months. This hunt has been allowed under an "aboriginal/subsistence whaling" exception to the commercial-hunting ban. Anti-whaling groups have protested the hunt, saying that the meat from the whales is not for traditional native consumption, but is used instead to feed animals in government-run fur farms; they cite annual catch numbers that rose dramatically during the 1940s, at the time when state-run fur farms were being established in the region. Although the Soviet government denied these charges as recently as 1987, in recent years the Russian government has acknowledged the feeding of Gray Whale meat to animals on fur farms in the region. The Russian IWC delegation has said that the hunt is justified under the aboriginal/subsistence exemption, since the fur farms provide a necessary economic base for the region's native population. Chukotka Autonomous District (Russian: , tr. ... Siberia is also an album by Echo & The Bunnymen. ... State motto (Russian): Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Transliterated: Proletarii vsekh stran, soedinyaytes!) (Translated: Workers of the world, unite!) Capital Moscow Official language None; Russian (de facto) Government Federation of Soviet republics Area  - Total  - % water 1st before collapse 22,402,200 km² Approx. ...


Currently, the annual quota for the Gray Whale catch in the region is 140 whales per year. A smaller quota of 4 whales per year was established for the Makah Indian tribe of Washington at the IWC's 1997 meeting, but with the exception of a single Gray Whale killed in 1999, the Makah people have been prevented from conducting Gray Whale hunts by a series of legal challenges, culminating in a United States federal appeals court decision in December 2002 that said the National Marine Fisheries Service must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before allowing the hunt to go forward. A Makah woman. ... Official language(s) None Capital Olympia Largest city Seattle Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 18th 184,824 km² 385 km 580 km 6. ... The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is a part of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ... According to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whenever the U.S. Federal Government takes a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment it must first consider the environmental impact in a document called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). ...


As of 2001, the population of California Gray Whales had grown back to about 26,000 animals. 2001: A Space Odyssey. ...


The Atlantic population of Gray Whales was hunted to extinction in the 17th century. However, in July 2005 scientists working at the University of Central Lancashire suggested that some Gray Whales be taken from the Pacific and re-introduced to the Atlantic—specifically, in the Irish Sea. Their idea would create a whale-watching industry in Cumbria in the United Kingdom and bolster the relatively fragile global population of Gray Whales. There is no indication at this time as to whether the idea will actually come to fruition. (BBC News) The University of Central Lancashire (or UCLan) is a university based in Preston, Lancashire, with additional campuses in Carlisle and Penrith. ... Relief map of the Irish Sea. ... Whale watching off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine. ... Cumbria is a county in the North West region of England. ...


Captivity

In 1972, a 3-month-old Gray Whale named Gigi was captured for brief study, and then released near San Diego. San Diego County in the Southwest corner of California. ...


In January 1997, the new-born baby whale J.J. was found helpless near the coast of Los Angeles, 4.2 m long and 800 kg in mass. Nursed back to health in SeaWorld San Diego, she was released into the Pacific Ocean on March 31, 1998, 9 m long and 8500 kg in mass. She shed her radio transmitter packs three days later. Nickname: City of Angels Official website: http://www. ... For the unrelated theme park in Australia, see Sea World. ... March 31 is the 90th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (91st in Leap years), with 275 days remaining. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ...


In the news

A lone gray whale was seen in spring 2005 on the eastern coastline of Japan, and around Tokyo bay. It attracted crowds of whale watchers in April, but later became entangled in a fisherman's net, drowned and was washed up in early May. (BBC News) 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tokyo ) (help· info), literally eastern capital, is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and includes the highly urbanized downtown area formerly known as the city of Tokyo which is the heart of the Greater Tokyo Area. ...


References

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is a partnership designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ... March 18 is the 77th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (78th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Marine Mammal Hunting. Marine mammal hunting is part of the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous population in coastal Chukotkan communities. Native peoples are provided with an annual quota to procure 169 whales, 10,000 ringed seals, and 3,000 walruses. Marine mammal by-products are used as food in fox ranches.
  • IWC report on aboriginal/subsistence whaling quota for 2004
  • Humane Society of the U.S. page documenting the history of the Makah whaling litigation (2003)
  • Two articles from the pro-native-whaling World Council of Whalers: Chukotkan whaling: Technology, tradition and hope combine to save a people (2000), and World whaling: Russia (2004).
  • Article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on cooperation between the Chukchi and Makah native people in their efforts to resume traditional whaling activities: Two tribes reach out across miles -- and years -- with whaling link (2004).

  Results from FactBites:
 
Gray Whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1107 words)
The Gray Whale is the sole species in the genus Eschrichtius, which in turn is the sole genus in the family Eschrichtiidae.
Gray Whales are covered by characteristic gray-white patterns, scars left by parasites which drop off in the cold feeding grounds.
The Atlantic population of Gray Whales was hunted to extinction in the 17th century.
Gray Whale -- Kids' Planet -- Defenders of Wildlife (346 words)
Gray whales migrate along the coast of North America from California to the Arctic or from coastal Korea to Siberia to spend the summer in arctic regions.
Gray whales prefer shallow waters and are often found within a mile and a half of shore in coastal waters and breeding lagoons.
Pollution and the disturbance of calving lagoons by humans are the main threats to the gray whale.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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