The bowhead whale has a massive bow-shaped skull that is over 16.5 feet (5 m) long and about 30–40% of their total body length. This large skull allows the bowhead whale to break through thick ice with its head. The bowhead whale also has a 17–19 inch (43-50 cm) thick blubber layer, thicker than any other whale's blubber.
Bowhead whales become sexually mature at about the age of 20 years, when they reach a length of about 35–40 ft. (13–14 m). Females generally have one calf every 3 to 4 years after a gestation period around 13 to 14 months. Calves are usually about 13 ft. (4 m) long at birth and weigh about 2,000 lb. (900 kg). Adults grow to about 45-60 ft. long (14-18 m) and weigh 150,000–200,000 lb. (75–100 tons). The average and maximum lifespan are unknown; however, some evidence suggests that they can live over 100 years.
HabitatBowheads live in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. They spend most of the summer in relatively ice-free waters of seas adjacent to the Arctic Ocean. They are associated with sea ice the rest of the year.
There are thought to be more than 17,000 in existence. The bowhead is a target for indigenous hunters in Alaska, Chukotka and Greenland who are allowed to catch no more than 69 individuals a year under IWC rules.
Related category• ZOOLOGY
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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