Where Do Blue Whales Live?

Blue whales occur in deep ocean waters around the world and so, they have a truly global distribution. In size, the blue whales of the southern hemisphere are bigger than those living in the northern hemisphere. The blue whales usually undertake long seasonal migrations in summer and winter. The poleward movement is driven by the feeding sites while breeding grounds exist in the tropics. The blue whales are present in three distinct populations i.e. North Atlantic, North Pacific and southern hemisphere.

Blue Whale Habitat

Blue whales are normally pelagic whales but they are also rarely found in coastal waters. In summer, they migrate to the cooler waters of the poles and in winter, these whales travel back to the warm equatorial waters. These poleward migrations in summer is very beneficial because of high concentrations of zooplankton.

Where Do Blue Whales Live Map

Blue Whale Distribution

Geographically, the blue whales are found in all the oceans around the world except Bering, Mediterranean, Okhotsk and Arctic Seas. Blue whale is distributed worldwide and its migration is dependent upon the density of krill in a certain area.

North Atlantic

Its range in the North Atlantic stretches from subtropics to the Greenland Sea. The most frequent sightings of these whales occur in eastern Canada i.e. Gulf of St. Lawrence. In Canada, its range extends from Scotian Shelf to the Davis Strait. These blue whales are also present in Denmark Strait, Iceland and Norway (Svalbard). Occasionally, they are also sighted in Cape Cod off eastern United States.

North Pacific

There are two distinct sub-populations of these whales in the North Pacific i.e. Eastern North Pacific and Central North Pacific.

Eastern North Pacific

In winter, these blue whales are found off Central America and Mexico. But they migrate toward the U.S. West Coast in summer as well as the Gulf of Alaska for feeding.

Central North Pacific

In summer, such blue whales are found across the southern part of Aleutians, southwestern region of Kamchatka as well as the Gulf of Alaska. The winter movements of these whales drive them up to the western Pacific. They are also rarely sighted off central Pacific.

Sources:

“Blue Whale”. WWF

“Blue Whale”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA FISHERIES)

“Blue Whale”. OCEANA – Protecting the World’s Oceans

Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. 2008. Balaenoptera musculus

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