Subordo Mysticeti

Suborder Mysticeti - Baleen Whales

There are 4 families of baleen whales. Mysticetes are universally large (with females growing larger than males); the smallest is the Pygmy right whale (< 7 m long), and the largest is the Blue whale (the largest animal ever to live, up to 33 m or more in length and 160 t in weight). The baleen whales have a double blowhole, a symmetrical skull, and a sternum consisting of a single bone. In the mouth there is baleen (stiff plates of keratin), instead of teeth. Baleen whales are batch feeders, taking in great quantities of water in a single gulp, and then using the fringes on their baleen plates to filter small schooling fish or invertebrates from the water. Nearly all mysticetes make long-range seasonal migrations.