Beluga whales are some of the strangest looking whales.
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leucas) belong to the family Monotontidae,
the genus Delphinapterus.
They are unusual types
of whales. They are white and often referred to as "White Whales." Their name comes from "beloy" meaning
"white" in Russian.
They live in the Arctic polar
regions just like their close relatives the Narwhals. They are found north of the 60 degree
the Northern Hemisphere, and they are also found north of the Polar
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A beluga (Delphinapterus
leucas) is easy to recognise by its
and a distinctive head dominated by its large melon.
It can be up to
5.5m long and weigh up to 1.6 tons.
Unlike most other
dolphins, it can show facial expressions by changing the shape of its
face; and it can turn its head laterally.
It lacks a
probably as an adaption to swimming under ice.
Belugas have relatively
large eyes, and short flippers.
They are very sociable
animals and are
known to move between different pods.
They are playful, and
They eat mainly fish,
but also shrimps, crabs, octopus,
squid and other sea animals.
They can swim backwards and they can live
longer than 50 years.
There are about
100,000 of them in the world,
however this is a small amount of the populations that existed before
Today they are
threatened by water pollution, contaminants in
their food chain, commercial fishing and Naval sonar among other things.