Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Cetacea > Monodontidae > Delphinapterus > Delphinapterus leucas

Delphinapterus leucas (Beluga; white whale)

Synonyms: Beluga catodon; Delphinapterus beluga; Delphinapterus catodon; Delphinapterus leucas marisalbi
Language: French

Wikipedia Abstract

The beluga whale or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus. This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the melonhead, beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter.It is adapted to life in the Arctic, so has anatomical and physiological characteristics that differentiate it from other cetaceans.
View Wikipedia Record: Delphinapterus leucas

EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 21.32
EDGE Score: 3.8


Adult Weight [2]  1.58 tons (1,430.00 kg)
Birth Weight [2]  145.51 lbs (66.00 kg)
Female Maturity [2]  4 years 6 months
Male Maturity [2]  6 years 3 months
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Piscivore
Diet - Fish [3]  60 %
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  40 %
Forages - Marine [3]  100 %
Gestation [2]  1 year 1 month
Litter Size [2]  1
Litters / Year [2]  0
Maximum Longevity [2]  40 years
Water Biome [1]  Pelagic, Benthic, Coastal, Brackish Water
Weaning [2]  1 year 10 months

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Ib 12402936 Alaska, United States
Auyuittuq National Park II 4808115 Nunavut, Canada
Cape Breton Highlands National Park II 234333 Nova Scotia, Canada  
Ivvavik National Park II 2382752 Yukon, Canada
Kronotskiy Biosphere Reserve 361480 Russia  
North Bull Island Nature Reserve IV 3544 Ireland  
North-east Greenland National Park II 237590314 Greenland
Ostrov Vrangelya (Wrangel Island) Zapovednik Nature Monument III 180 Russia    
Polar Bear Provincial Park 5502026 Ontario, Canada
Reserve de la Biosphere de Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve 1383790 Canada  
Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park National Marine Conservation Area II 310822 Canada
Sirmilik National Park II 5475284 Canada
Taimyrsky Biosphere Reserve Ia 4403240 Taimyr, Russia
Terra Nova National Park IV 125894 Newfoundland, Canada
Tuktut Nogait National Park II 5761538 Northwest Territories, Canada
Ukkusiksalik National Park II   Nunavut, Canada
Wapusk National Park II 2614324 Manitoba, Canada

Prey / Diet

Anisarchus medius (Stout eelblenny)[4]
Arctogadus glacialis (Polar cod)[4]
Atherina presbyter (common sand smelt)[4]
Boreogadus saida (Polar cod)[5]
Clupea harengus (Yawling)[4]
Eleginus nawaga (Wachna cod)[6]
Gadus morhua (rock cod)[4]
Gadus ogac (White sea nonmigratory cod)[6]
Gonatus fabricii (boreoatlantic armhook squid)[4]
Lota lota (Thin-tailed burbot)[6]
Lumpenus lampretaeformis (serpent blenny)[4]
Mallotus villosus (Capelin)[7]
Myoxocephalus scorpius (Short-spined sea scorpion)[4]
Pandalus borealis (northern shrimp)[4]
Pollachius virens (Sillock)[4]
Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Turbot)[4]
Sebastes mentella (Redfish)[4]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Alca torda (Razorbill)1
Amblyraja hyperborea (Arctic skate)1
Amblyraja radiata (Starry ray)1
Artediellus atlanticus (Atlantic hookear)1
Atheresthes stomias (Turbot)1
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Minke Whale)1
Balaenoptera borealis (Sei Whale)1
Balaenoptera physalus (Fin Whale)1
Boreogadus saida (Polar cod)1
Brachyramphus brevirostris (Kittlitz's Murrelet)1
Brachyramphus marmoratus (Marbled Murrelet)1
Careproctus reinhardti (Longfin seasnail)1
Cepphus grylle (Black Guillemot)2
Cystophora cristata (Hooded Seal)1
Erignathus barbatus (Bearded Seal)2
Esox lucius (Jack)1
Fratercula arctica (Atlantic Puffin)1
Fratercula cirrhata (Tufted Puffin)1
Fratercula corniculata (Horned Puffin)1
Fulmarus glacialis (Northern Fulmar)1
Gadus chalcogrammus (Whiting)1
Gadus macrocephalus (Pacific cod)1
Gadus ogac (White sea nonmigratory cod)2
Halichoerus grypus (Gray Seal)1
Hexagrammos stelleri (Greenling)1
Hippoglossoides platessoides (American dab)1
Hippoglossus stenolepis (Pacific halibut)1
Histriophoca fasciata (Ribbon Seal)1
Lagenorhynchus albirostris (White-beaked Dolphin)1
Lagenorhynchus obliquidens (Pacific White-sided Dolphin)1
Larus argentatus (Herring Gull)1
Larus canus (Mew Gull)1
Larus glaucescens (Glaucous-winged Gull)1
Larus marinus (Great Black-backed Gull)1
Liparis gibbus (Dusky snailfish)1
Lycodes reticulatus (Arctic eelpout)1
Malacoraja senta (Smooth skate)1
Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)1
Melanogrammus aeglefinus (Smokie)1
Micromesistius poutassou (Poutassou)2
Monodon monoceros (Narwhal)1
Morus bassanus (Northern Gannet)1
Orcinus orca (Killer Whale)1
Pagophila eburnea (Ivory Gull)1
Pagophilus groenlandicus (Harp Seal)2
Phalacrocorax carbo (Great Cormorant)1
Phoca largha (Spotted Seal)1
Phocoena phocoena (Harbor Porpoise)1
Pollachius virens (Sillock)1
Pusa hispida (Ringed Seal)1
Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Turbot)1
Rissa tridactyla (Black-legged Kittiwake)2
Sebastes mentella (Redfish)1
Stercorarius parasiticus (Parasitic Jaeger)1
Triglops murrayi (Moustache sculpin)1
Uria aalge (Common Murre)1
Uria lomvia (Thick-billed Murre)2


Homo sapiens (man)[4]
Odobenus rosmarus (Walrus)[6]
Orcinus orca (Killer Whale)[6]
Ursus maritimus (Polar Bear)[8]


Parasite of 
Trichinella spiralis (pork worm)[4]


Parasitized by 
Anisakis kuekenthalii <Unverified Name>[9]
Anisakis simplex[9]
Corynosoma cameroni[9]
Corynosoma hadweni[9]
Corynosoma reductum[9]
Corynosoma semerme[9]
Corynosoma similis[9]
Corynosoma strumosum[9]
Corynosoma wegeneri[9]
Crassicauda giliakiana <Unverified Name>[9]
Diphyllobothrium lanceolatum[9]
Hadwenius arctica <Unverified Name>[9]
Hadwenius mironovus <Unverified Name>[9]
Hadwenius seymouri[9]
Hadwenius subtilis[9]
Halocercus monoceris <Unverified Name>[9]
Halocercus taurica[9]
Leucasiella arctica <Unverified Name>[9]
Leucasiella mironovi <Unverified Name>[9]
Odhneriella seymouri <Unverified Name>[9]
Odhneriella subtila <Unverified Name>[9]
Orthosplanchnus albamarinus <Unverified Name>[9]
Orthosplanchnus arctica <Unverified Name>[9]
Orthosplanchnus mironovi <Unverified Name>[9]
Orthosplanchnus sudarikovi <Unverified Name>[9]
Otophocaenurus oserskoi <Unverified Name>[9]
Pharurus pallasii <Unverified Name>[9]
Pseudoterranova decipiens[9]
Pyramicocephalus phocarum[9]
Stenurus arctomarinus <Unverified Name>[9]
Stenurus minor[9]
Stenurus pallasii <Unverified Name>[9]
Terranova decipiens[9]
Trichinella spiralis (pork worm)[9]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Baiji Dolphinarium, Inst. of Hydrobiol
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Kamogawa Sea World
Moscow Zoological Park
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Ctr

Range Map

East Pacific; Eastern Atlantic Ocean; Europe & Northern Asia (excluding China); Indo-West Pacific; North America; Western Atlantic Ocean;


Play / PauseVolume



Vancouver Aquarium Beluga Cam
Cam Time:
Hours: - ( - )


Attributes / relations provided by
1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
2de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
5Food Web Relationships of Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca : a Synthesis of the Available Knowledge, Charles A. Simenstad, Bruce S. Miller, Carl F. Nyblade, Kathleen Thornburgh, and Lewis J. Bledsoe, EPA-600 7-29-259 September 1979
6Delphinapterus leucas, Barbara E. Stewart and Robert E. A. Stewart, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 336, pp. 1-8 (1989)
7The role of capelin (Mallotus villosus) in the foodweb of the Barents Sea, A. V. Dolgov, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 59: 1034–1045. 2002
8Diet composition of polar bears in Svalbard and the western Barents Sea, Andrew E. Derocher, Øystein Wiig, Magnus Andersen, Polar Biol (2002) 25: 448–452
9Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
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