What is a California Gray Whale

Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Youtube

What is a California Gray WhaleMigrationFeedingWhaling | BehaviorCalving

Parts of a Whale

Baleen – fringed plates of keratin growing on upper jaw instead of teeth; used for the filtering of food.
Barnacle – a crustacean which attaches itself to the skin.
Blowholes – the nostrils on the top of the head .
Dorsal ridge – a series of bumps or knuckles on the back of some whales.
Ear – organ of hearing.
Eye – organ of sight.
Flipper – the broad, flat forelimb used for steering.
Flukes – a whale’s tail.
Rostrum – the snout of a whale.
Throat Grooves – pleats running from lower lip to chest.
Umbilicus – the navel.
Uro-genital slit – opening for reproduction and elimination.

The Gray Whale

The gray whale is a mammal. Like all mammals, it bears live young, breathes air, is warm blooded1, and nurses its young. The gray whale is in the scientific order Cetacea2 (from the Latin “cetus”), and in the sub-order Mysticeti3 (from Latin for mustache). All Mysticeti whales have baleen fringes inside their mouths rather than teeth, and they have two blowholes.


Warm blooded – maintains a constant internal temperature

Mysticeti (\mis-ta-cets\) – The baleen whale

Cetacean (\si-ta-shan\) – marine mammals that include whales,Whale dolphins Dolphin, and porpoises.

Additional references for the Gray Whale

Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Whale Blowing Audio

Original Authors (June 1992)

Lisa Angle – Richard Asplund – Peter Ostrander
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, California 93407

Additional Updates and Maintenance

Revised in HTML (January 1995) – Java (July 1995)
Richard Asplund
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education
San Luis Obispo, California 93405

Converted to WordPress (November 2017)
Martin Williams
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education
San Luis Obispo, California 93405