Iñupiaq Name: Qiļalugaq or Sisuaq
Scientific Name: Delphinapterus leucas

Beluga migrating along ice edge near Barrow, Alaska. (Photo: Mike Knoche)

More on Beluga Whales

NSB Mystic Aquarium Educational and Cultural Student Exchange Information on an exchange program between students in Point Lay, Alaska, and other North Slope villages, and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Mystic, Connecticut to Mystic Aquarium.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Species Profile - Beluga

Beluga Whale Research and Reports, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Beluga Sounds

Here is an MP3 file of beluga whales, the “canaries of the sea,” singing!  The beluga sounds are very high-pitched and bird-like.  You can also hear bearded seals once in a while, an eerie sound that starts out high and sort of “circles” down to a lower pitch. These sounds were recorded with hydrophones placed in the open lead on the sea ice near Barrow by NSB-DWM biologists. The recordings were analyzed and clips were produced under the direction of Christopher W. Clark at the Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

For more beluga sounds go to Sounds of the Arctic. This poster with sound files was put together by Catherine Berchok (National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA) and Kate Stafford (University of Washington, Applied Physics Lab) with support from BOEMRE (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement) and the NSB.

Journal articles and reports:

Frost, K. J., and L. F. Lowry. 1984. Trophic relationships of vertebrate consumers in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. Pages 381–399 in The Alaskan Beaufort Sea - Ecosystems and Environments, P. W. Barnes, D. M. Schell and E. Reimnitz, eds. Academic Press, New York, USA.

Huntington, H.P., et al. 1999. Traditional knowledge of the ecology of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Eastern Chukchi and northern Bering Seas, Alaska. Arctic 52(1):49-61.

Suydam, R.S., Lowry, L.F., Frost, K.J., O’Corry-Crowe, G.M., and Pikok, Jr., D. 2001. Satellite Tracking of Eastern Chukchi Sea Beluga Whales into the Arctic Ocean. Arctic 54:237-243.

Huntington, H.P, et al. 2004. Traditional knowledge and satellite tracking as complementary approaches to ecological understanding. Environmental Conservation 31(3):177-180.

Suydam, R.S., Lowry, L.F., and Frost, K.J. 2005. Distribution and movements of beluga whales from the Eastern Chukchi Sea stock during summer and early autumn. OCS Study MMS 2005-035 Final Report, 48 pp.

Lockyer, C., Hohn, A.A., Doidge, D.W., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P., and Suydam, R. 2007. Age Determination in Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas): A Quest for Validation of Dentinal Layering. Aquatic Mammals 33:293-304.

Suydam, R.S. 2009. Age, growth, reproduction and movements of beluga whale (Dephinapterus leucas) form the eastern Chukchi Sea. Dissertation. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Werth, A.J., T.J. Ford, Jr. 2012. Abdominal fat pads act as control surfaces in lieu of dorsal fins in beluga (Delphinapterus). Marine Mammal Science 28(4):E516-E527.

Citta, J.J., et al. 2013. Dive behavior of Eastern Chukchi beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), 1998-2008. Arctic 66:389-406.

Stafford, K.M. et al. 2013. Correlation of a strong Alaska Coastal Current with the presence of beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas near Barrow, Alaska. Marine Ecology Progress Series 474:287-297. DOI: 10.3354/meps10076.

Braund, S.R. & Associates. 2014. Subsistence use areas and traditional knowledge study for Point Lay, Alaska: 1997-2006. Report prepared for North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Barrow, Alaska.

Hauser, D.D.W., et al. 2015. Regional diving behavior of Pacific Arctic beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas and possible associations with prey. Marine Ecology Progress Series 541:245-264. DOI: 10.3354/meps11530.

Ferrer, T. et al. 2015. Genetic variation and immune response in Beluga Whales. Poster presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, Alaska.

Sensor, J.D., et al. 2015. The spiral ganglion and Rosenthal's canal in beluga whales. Journal of Morphology, DOI 10.1002/jmor.20434.

NAMMCO. 2018. Report of the NAMMCO Global Review of Monodontids. 13-26 March 2017, Hillerod, Denmark. https://nammco.no/topics/sc-working-group-reports/.

Rehorek, S.J., et al. 2019. Whale tear glands in the bowhead and the beluga whales: Source and function. Journal of Morphology, DOI:10.1002.jmor.21099.

More journal articles on beluga whale research

Banner photo credit: Leslie Pierce