Species fact sheet by Global Register of Migratory Species - www.groms.de
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Delphinapterus leucas (Pallas, 1776)
Family: Monodontidae
Order: Cetacea
English: White whale
French: Bélouga, Dauphin blanc, Delphinaptère blanc
Spanish: Beluga
German: Weißwal (There's a German version of this page!)
Norwegian: Hvithval, Hvitfisk, Beluga (There's a Norwegian version of this page!)
Migration: partial
Regions: East Asia, Europe, North America, North Asia

 distributionmap of Delphinapterus leucas 

“In many areas of the Arctic, belugas soon leave these coastal areas to range widely off shore. Satellite tracking has recorded belugas moving up to 1100 km from shore and penetrating 700 km into the dense polar cap where ice coverage exceeds 90% (Suydam et al. 2001). How these animals find breathing holes in this environment is still a mystery. Analysis of dive profiles suggests that beluga whales may combine the use of sound at depth to find cracks in the ice ceiling overhead. Diving data also indicate that belugas are probably feeding on deepwater benthic prey as well as ice-associated species closer to the surface (Martin et al. 1998).
Little is known about distribution, ecology, or behaviour of beluga whales in winter. In most regions, belugas are believed to migrate in the direction of the advancing polar ice front. However, in some areas, belugas may remain behind this front and overwinter in polynyas and ice islands.
In the eastern Canadian Arctic some belugas overwinter in the North Water, a large area of open water in the Baffin Bay (Finley and Renaud, 1980), whereas in the White, Barents, and Kara Seas, belugas occur year-round, remaining in polynyas in the deeper water during winter (Kleinenberg et al. 1964).”
(O´Corry Crowe GM, 2002, Beluga Whale - Delphinapterus leucas, In: Encyclopedia of marine mammals, Perrin WF, Würsig B, Thewissen JGM (eds), 94-99, Academic Press, San Diego)

More about whales and dolphins from:
Riede, K. (2001): Global Register of Migratory Species. Weltregister wandernder Tierarten. (p. 64-68)

Recommended link(s):

To gather more information about whales in general see the link collection at connotea.org: cetacea
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Feedback: mail to: Klaus Riede

(Last update: 13.7.2007 by A. Tappenhölter)