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Photo Information
Copyright: Stephan Duchesne (iglootrek) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 10 N: 460] (1623)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-06-27
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel, CMOS ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Beluga Whales [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-12-08 10:55
Viewed: 3966
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas)


The term "beluga" stems from the Russian word belukha which means "white one". The beluga whale is known by the scientific name of Delphinapterus ("whale without fins") leucas ("white"). It is also referred to as "white whale", "white porpoise" and "white squidhound" because of its color, and "sea canary", because of its lively chatter.

Beluga whales are most commonly found in coastal waters of circumpolar, primarily arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Some isolated populations however, extend into subarctic regions as far south as the St. Lawrence River of Canada.

Since belugas are extremely difficult to monitor, population sizes are known from only certain localities. Based on this information, it seems likely that the present total population is between 40,000 and 55,000 animals. The population in the St. Lawrence River has now declined to less than 500 whales. (I had the chance to see some near Tadoussac in the St-Lawrence river 10 years ago)

Of all toothed whales, belugas are clearly the most adapted to brackish, estuarine waters and travel up river mouths, often with the tide, for limited distances in search of food.

Beluga whales have stout bodies, well defined necks and a disproportionately small head with a well defined beak and a prominent bulge or "melon". They have short but broad paddle shaped flippers, no dorsal fin, a narrow ridged back and a broad tail fluke with a deeply notched center.

Adult beluga whales grow to lengths of 10-16 feet (3-5 m), and can weigh up to 3300 lbs (1500 kg). Males grow slightly larger than females.

Color varies with age. Calves are a reddish-brown at birth and remain so throughout the first year; during the second year this color slowly transforms to a marbled blue gray. In the following 3 years the color slowly fades as pigment is lost from the skin. By 6 years of age, belugas have attained their characteristic creamy white adult color.

Belugas are thought to live to 35-50 years of age.

Beluga whales can remain submerged for 15-20 minutes and may travel up to 2-3 km on one dive. This allows them to pursue their primary diet of small fish such as capulin, char, sand lance and cod.

Source: http://www.uvm.edu/whale/BelugaWhales.html

This picture was taken at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre last year.

My friend Alex convinced me to post this pic today.
I'll be out of town, going West to Calgary for the week-end. Unfortunately I'll have no time for shooting anything new down there. I'll post back monday.

Have a nice week-end and enjoy the pic.

wallhalla15, Dave, thistle, alexbf, Mazer, scottevers7, Athila has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Nice shot of the spy hopper. Beluga's have got to be one of the cutest whales around especially with that round melon head. :)

Hello Stephan,
very nice capture with great colours, sharpness and POV. Very good composition. Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Dave Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 503 W: 43 N: 657] (2178)
  • [2005-12-08 13:09]

Safe travels Stephan!
Love the Beluga!
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Stephan,
this is soooo wonderful, what an interesting animal. The white body against the dark water is very pretty and a beautiful contrast.
I love it, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Lovely shot Stephen!
Pose of this beauty is superb, great details, colours and framing too.
I like it very much!

Excellent capture Stephan,
Good sharp detail and colours. Great POV.
Nicely composed, good framing and notes.
Thanks for posting. Enjoy the rest of the week.

  • Great 
  • Mazer Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 65 W: 3 N: 34] (104)
  • [2005-12-09 15:14]

nice cpature and useful note thanks :)

Hi Stephan,
Thse are some of the neatest whales! Great capture here with this pose. You handled the bright sunlight very well in this exposure. Great notes, and a great web cam link!

Très bonne image Stéphane!

La netteté est très bonne et l'expostion très bien réussite considérant la lumière très contrastée. Le fond neutre met bien en évidence l'animal. Finalement la pose un loufoque lui convient très bien.
Belle réussite.


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