beluga

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beluga (bəlōō´gə) or white whale, small, toothed northern whale, Delphinapterus leucas. The beluga may reach a length of 19 ft (5.8 m) and a weight of 4,400 lb (2,000 kg). It has a small, round head, with a short, broad, beaklike snout, and a flexible neck; its flippers are short, broad, and rounded, and it lacks a dorsal fin. It produces a variety of noises and is sometimes called a sea canary. The young are born with dark fur but become almost pure white in maturity. Belugas winter in the Arctic Ocean, feeding upon crustaceans, fish, and squid; they are often found in groups of several hundred individuals. They mate in spring, and in summer they enter northern rivers. The young are born after a gestation period of 14 months, one calf every second year. The beluga is hunted by the Eskimo for food and by commercial whalers for its hide, which is known as porpoise hide. Beluga is also the common name of the largest of the sturgeons. Beluga whales are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Cetacea, family Monodontidae.

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be·lu·ga / bəˈloōgə/ • n. (pl. same or belugas ) 1. a small, white-toothed whale (Delphinapterus leucas, family Monodontidae) related to the narwhal, living in herds mainly in Arctic coastal waters. Also called white whale. 2. a very large sturgeon (Huso huso) occurring in the inland seas and associated rivers of central Eurasia. ∎  (also beluga caviar) caviar obtained from this fish.

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beluga (white whale) Small, toothed Arctic whale that is milky white when mature. It preys on fish, squid, and crustaceans and is valued by Eskimos for its meat, hide and blubber. Length: c.4m (13ft). Species: Delphinapterus leucas. Beluga is also a type of sturgeon, whose roe is sold as caviar.

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beluga
1. Huso huso See ACIPENSERIDAE.

2. (white whale, Delphinapterus leucas) See MONODONTIDAE.

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beluga Russian name for the white sturgeon (Acipenser huro), whose roe forms the most prized caviar.

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beluga great sturgeon; white whale. XVIII (in XVI bellougina). — Russ. belúga (in the latter sense also belúkha), f. bélȳľ white.