The Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is a whale which 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.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.














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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 head-first and measures about 4 metres in length at birth. It is believed that the shallow waters in the lagoons there protect the newborn from sharks. After several weeks, the return trip starts. This roundtrip of 16,000 - 22,000km, at an average speed of 10km/h is believed to be the longest yearly migration of any mammal. A whale watching industry has sprung up along the coast. The whale feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans which it eats sideways 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.

Above Images Are From NOAA



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