Beluga whales

Beluga whales

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Credit: DOUG ALLAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Beluga whales (or white whales, Delphinapterus leucas). In summer, groups of belugas migrate into river estuaries to moult. Their skin is 100 times thicker than a human's, mainly for insulation. To encourage shedding of the old skin, they roll on the river bottom to rub against rocks and mud. The yellowish colour of the whales in this picture is typical of moulting adults; they are normally a creamy white. Belugas inhabit the Arctic coastal waters of Europe, Asia and North America. They live in pods (groups) of 20-200 animals. They dive to the seabed to feed on bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates. Photographed in July in the Cunningham Inlet, Canadian Arctic.

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Keywords: animal, arctic, beluga whales, canada, canadian, carnivore, carnivorous, cetacean, cunningham inlet, delphinapterus leucas, estuary, fish-eater, fish-eating, group, july, mammal, many, marine, migrant, migratory, moulting, multiple, nature, ocean, piscivore, piscivorous, pod, rolling, sea, shedding skin, summer, white, wildlife, zoology

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