Friday, January 17, 2014

Facts about blue whales


  • The Blue Whale is the largest creature ever to have lived on earth.
  • Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as a car.
  • Amazingly, however, this giant of the ocean feeds on some of the smallest marine life – tiny shrimplike animals called krill. A single adult blue whale can consume 3,6000kg of krill a day.
  • They mainly catch their food by diving, and descend to depths of approximately 500m.
  • The whale’s mouth has a fascinating row of plates fringed with bristles to help it filter its’ main source of food – Plankton from the water.  There is what looks like a moustache of long bristles on the end of each plate to help it hold the minute prey.  With each mouthful, the whale can hold up to 5,000kg of water and plankton.  Having forced the water out of its mouth, the whale licks these bristles with its fleshy tongue.
  • Although the blue whale is a deep-water hunter, as a mammal, it must come to the surface of the sea to breathe.  When it surfaces, it exhales air out of a blowhole in a cloud of pressurized vapour that rises vertically above the water for up to 9m.
  • Blue whales occasionally swim in small groups but usually alone or in pairs. They are thought to form close attachments.
  • In spite of their bulk, these graceful swimmers cruise the ocean at over 8km/h, and can reach speeds of over 30km/h.
  • Though we can’t hear them, blue whales are one of the loudest animals on the planet, communicating with each other using a series of low frequency pulses, groans, and moans. It is thought that in good conditions blue whales can hear each over distances of up to 1,600km.
  • Scientists think they use these vocalizations not only to communicate, but, along with their excellent hearing, to sonar-navigate the dark deep oceans.
  • Females breed only once every three years and gestation is between 11-12months.  Females usually only have one young.
  • A baby blue whale (calf) emerges weighing up to 2,7000kg and up to 8m long. New born whales are helped to the surface of the water by their mothers and are often encouraged (nudged) by other females so that they can take their first breath of air. 
  • The calf is suckled in the water, drinking more than 600 litres of milk each day and gaining about 90kg every day for its first year.
  • Blue whales have few predators but are known to fall victim to attacks by sharks and killer whales, and many are injured or die each year from impacts with large ships.
  • It is thought that whales feel emotions.
  • Intensive hunting in the 1900s by whalers seeking whale oil drove them to the brink of extinction. Hundreds of thousands of whales were killed. The 1966 International Whaling Commission finally gave them protection, although they have only recovered slightly since then. Blue whales are currently classified as endangered on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List. It is estimated that only10,000-25,000 blue whales now swim the world's oceans.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Today we launched our identification mark

Today we launched our identification mark.Its our official visiting card.you can identify us and follow our service from it.thank you...
Mr Danushka
(Skipper)  www.whalewatchingdanushka.com


About the Blue whales

About the Blue whales 



Sri Lanka proudly boasts being in the position as the world’s best location to spot not only Blue Whales, but also Sperm Whales as they journey a huge distance to warmer feeding grounds in the Bay of Bengal, from the Horn of Africa.
With Sri Lanka’s most southerly point close to the deeper waters of the continental shelf, it is possible to see the immense, yet truly graceful Blue Whales come quite close to shore. Blue Whales are the largest animals, from both terrestrial and marine species ever to have graced this planet, and reaching more than 30 metres in length are truly enormous.
With Sri Lanka’s surrounding waters of the Indian Ocean being so rich with marine-life, it is no surprise that the Blue Whales use the area as an annual feeding ground. The Blue Whale is maybe the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s yearly visitors due to it’s extraordinary size, grace and mystery.
Despite it’s incredible size, the Blue Whale will consume up to 6 tonnes of only tiny shrimps, known as krill, which are found in abundance off Sri Lanka’s southern coast. With the meeting of warmer coastal waters and the colder waters of the deep continental shelf, a rich variety of life-giving nutrients are brought up from the oceanic depths. Krill feed on these nutrients, and the Blue Whales feed on the krill, thus keeping the ocean’s life cycle moving.
It is reported that only 15,000 Blue Whales now exist in the world today. Huge numbers of these magnificent cetaceans have been killed in the 20th Century – reports state that more than 360,000 have died during that time.
It is now imperative that these marvellous natural treasures are recognised for what they truly are – the true kings of the oceans. AMK Safaris, in conjunction with the Department of Wildlife,  are forging ahead in the conservation of these creatures by regulating boat-traffic in the areas where the whales visit.  By doing so, these special creatures of the deep, the majestic Blue Whales, will continue to visit Sri Lanka’s waters.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The whale shark

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The whale shark is a the biggest shark and the biggest fish. It is NOT a whale. It has a huge mouth which can be up to 4 feet (1.4 m) wide. Its mouth is at the very front of its head (not on the underside of the head like in most sharks). It has a wide, flat head, a rounded snout, small eyes, 5 very large gill slits, 2 dorsal fins (on its back) and 2 pectoral fins (on its sides). The spiracle (a vestigial first gill slit used for breathing when the shark is resting on the sea floor) is located just behind the shark's eye. Its tail has a top fin much larger than the lower fin.
The whale shark has distinctive light-yellow markings (random stripes and dots) on its very thick dark gray skin. Its skin is up to 4 inches (10 cm) thick. There are three prominent ridges running along each side of the shark's body.
This enormous shark is a filter feeder and sieves enormous amounts of plankton to eat through its gills as it swims.
SIZE



A scuba diver above a Whale shark.
The whale shark is up to 46 feet (14 m), weighing up to 15 tons. The average size is 25 feet (7.6 m) long It is the largest fish in the world. Females are larger than males (like most sharks). 

TEETH
Whale sharks have about 3,000 very tiny teeth but they are of little use. Whale sharks are filter feeders who sieve their tiny food through their large gills.
DIET AND FEEDING HABITS
The whale shark is a filter feeder that sieves small animals from the water. As it swims with its mouth open, it sucks masses of water filled with prey into its mouth and through spongy tissue between its 5 large gill arches. After closing its mouth, the shark uses gills rakers that filter the nourishment from the water. Anything that doesn't pass through the gills is eaten. Gill rakers are bristly structures (the thousands of bristles are about 4 inches or 10 cm long) in the shark's mouth that trap the small organisms which the shark then swallows. The water is expelled through the sharks 5 pairs of gill slits. The prey includes plankton, krill, small fish, and squid. The shark can process over 1500 gallons (6000 liters) of water each hour.
SOCIAL GROUPS
Whale sharks are solitary creatures. Groups of whale sharks have only rarely been seen.
HABITAT
Whale sharks live in warm water (near the equator) both along the coast and in the open seas. They spend most of their time near the surface.
DISTRIBUTION
Whale sharks are found worldwide in the warm oceans from the equator to about ±30-40° latitude. They are not, however, found in the Mediterranean Sea.
 

SWIMMING
Whale sharks are slow swimmers, going no more than 3 mph (5 kph). They swim by moving their entire bodies from side to side (not just their tails, like some other sharks do).
REPRODUCTION
The Whale shark was long thought to be oviparous (an egg 14 inches (36 cm) long was found in the Gulf of Mexico in 1953; this would be the largest egg in the world). Recently, pregnant females have been found containing hundreds of pups, so, Whale sharks are viviparous, giving birth to live young. Newborns are over 2 feet (60 cm) long.
Whale sharks are sexually mature at 30 years old. This is the age at which they are able to mate and reproduce.
WHALE SHARK ATTACKS
Whale sharks are harmless to people and usually indifferent to divers.
LIFE SPAN
It has been estimated that whale sharks may live up to 100 - 150 years.
WHALE SHARK CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata
SubPhylum Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order Orectolobiformes
Family Rhincodontidae
Genus Rhincodon
Species typus