ADAPTATION Temperature Conditions
|Cetaceans can live in water temperatures from 10 to 25o
C. They are endothermic homeotherms, maintaining
basal temperature around 36-37o C. Since
water thermal conductivity is 27 times greater than air, it is more
advantageous to have a large body, and therefore a large volume to surface
area ratio, to regulate body temperature.
Water is 1,000 times denser than air and can support the massive body structure of cetaceans, like the Blue Whale, to aid in temperature regulation.
Cetaceans have lost most of their mammalian body hair to improve streamlining but have a layer of fatty tissue (blubber) that can be up to 45% of their body weight. Blubber acts as an insulator, stores energy and increases buoyancy.
Water buoyancy allows cetaceans to get very big, increasing their ability to regulate their body temperature. The Blue Whale is the largest mammal that ever lived.