Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009 GRAY WHALE, Crescent Bay

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009 GRAY WHALE, Crescent Bay

Gray whales use suction to draw food into their mouths.
A feeding gray whale turns so that one side of its mouth faces the ocean bottom. The whale opens its mouth slightly and pulls in its huge tongue. This draws in sediment and amphipods from the ocean bottom. The whale then pushes the sediment through the baleen plates on the opposite side of its mouth. The amphipods are caught in the baleen, which acts like a filter.
Gray whales are the only baleen (filter feeder) whale that regularly feeds on bottom-dwelling animals.
Scientists think they can tell whether a gray whale is a right or left-handed feeder by looking at the barnacles and scraped skin on its head. There are more skin scratches, and fewer barnacles, on the side of the whale that faces the bottom when it feeds.

Photos by Ron Bates of Marine Mammal Research Group (MMRG),

1 comment:

Jacks said...

Similar to the human population, right-faced feeders is the most dominant trait.