24 October 2011

bestiary: beluga whale

contrary to their name, these whales do not produce the caviar that seems to be so sought after. these are white whales. not the type that captain ahab was after though (sperm whale, in that case). they inhabit arctic waters but inhabit warmer waters when arctic oceans freeze over, lest they become food for polars bears or people. they're most notable because of their melons. seriously, the lump on their heads is referred to as a melon and is comprised of oily, fatty tissue. i'm not sure if this is some sort of survival related feature but belugas can change the shape of their heads by shifting air around in their sinuses. more survival related, they are among the only whales that can actually turn their heads. they lack dorsal fins in favour of dorsal ridges. delphinapterus leucas in moleskine.

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