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The largest animals ever to have lived on the planet (surpassing even dinosaurs), blue whales inspire awe and wonder with all the records they break: The largest blue whale ever recorded was 33 m long; a blue whale’s heart is the size of a small car; a child could crawl through a blue whale’s arteries; and blue whales produce the loudest sound on earth – even if it is too low in frequency for humans to hear it. There are at least five recognized sub-species of blue whale that occur in different ocean basins.

 
 
 
 
 
 

References

 

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  1. Sears, R. & Perrin, W. F. in Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals   (eds W. Perrin, B. Wursig, & J.G.M. Thewissen)  121-124 (Elsevier, 2009).
  2. Branch, T. A. et al. Past and present distribution, densities and movements of blue whales Balaenoptera musculus in the Southern Hemisphere and northern Indian Ocean. Mammal Review 37, 116-175 (2007).
  3. Gendron, D. Population Ecology of the Blue Whales, Balaenoptera musculus, of the Baja California Peninsula PhD thesis, (2002).
  4. Calambokidis, J. & Barlow, J. Abundance of blue and humpback whales in the Eastern North Pacific estimated by capture-recpature and line-transect methods. Marine Mammal Science 20, 63-85, doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2004.tb01141.x (2004).
  5. Redfern, J. et al. Assessing the Risk of Ships Striking Large Whales in Marine Spatial Planning. Conservation Biology 27, 292-302 (2013).
  6. Redfern, J. V. et al. Predicting cetacean distributions in data-poor marine ecosystems. Diversity and Distributions, n/a-n/a, doi:10.1111/ddi.12537 (2017).
  7. Jefferson, T. A., Webber, M. A. & Pitman, R. L. Marine Mammals of the World: a Comprehensive Guide to their Identification. Second Edition.  (San Diego: Academic Press, 2015).
  8. de Vos, A., Brownell, R., Tershy, B. & Croll, D. Anthropogenic Threats and Conservation Needs of Blue Whales, Balaenoptera musculus indica, around Sri Lanka. Journal of Marine Biology 2016 (2016).
  9. McKenna, M. F., Calambokidis, J., Oleson, E. M., Laist, D. W. & Goldbogen, J. A. Simultaneous tracking of blue whales and large ships demonstrates limited behavioral responses for avoiding collision. Endangered Species Research 27, 219-232 (2015).
  10. Thomas, P. O., Reeves, R. R. & Brownell, R. L. Status of the world's baleen whales. Marine Mammal Science, doi:10.1111/mms.12281 (2015).
  11. Branch, T. A., Matsuoka, K. & Miyashita, T. Evidence for increases in Antarctic blue whales based on Bayesian modelling Marine Mammal Science 20, 726-754, doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2004.tb01190.x.
  12. Branch, T. A., Matsuoka, K. & Miyashita, T. Evidence for increases in Antarctic blue whales based on Bayesian modelling. Marine Mammal Science 20, 726-754 (2004).