A group of beluga whales at arctic sea surface

White whales

The white whale family contains two unusual species. One is the tusked narwhal , also known as the 'unicorn of the sea'. The other is the beluga whale, also called the 'sea canary' because of its trilling song. White whales inhabit Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, from coastal regions and estuaries to seas covered in pack ice. They travel in schools or pods that can number hundreds of individuals, or even thousands in the case of belugas. Both of these whale species are bottom feeders. They consume a variety of fish, molluscs and small crustaceans. Narwhals and belugas have high foreheads, short or no snouts, no dorsal fins and reduced teeth. The beluga has simple peg-like teeth. The male narwhal has only two and one of those forms the males' tusk. The teeth of a female narwhal are embedded within its jaws.

Scientific name: Monodontidae

Rank: Family

Common names:

Beluga and narwhal

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The following habitats are found across the White whales distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web