Delphinapterus leucas 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Monodontidae

Scientific Name: Delphinapterus leucas
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1776)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Beluga, White Whale
French Dauphin blanc, Bélouga, Delphinaptère blanc, Marsouin blanc
Spanish Ballena Blanca
Taxonomic Notes: Specimens that appear to be hybrids between Narwhals and Belugas have been described from nature (Heide-Jørgensen and Reeves 1993). An alternative common name is White Whale.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Jefferson, T.A., Karkzmarski, L., Laidre, K., O’Corry-Crowe, G., Reeves, R., Rojas-Bracho, L., Secchi, E., Slooten, E., Smith, B.D., Wang, J.Y. & Zhou, K.
Reviewer(s): Brownell Jr., R.L. & Cooke, J.
At the global level the species does not qualify for a threatened status under any of the criteria although there is substantial uncertainty about numbers and trends for at least some large parts of the range, especially in the Russian Arctic. Given that uncertainty, and the fact that cessation of national and international, taxon-specific conservation programs that currently monitor and manage hunting could result in the Beluga’s qualifying for threatened status (under criterion A3) within five years, the species should be listed as Near Threatened. The Beluga whale is unquestionably a conservation-dependent species.

The species was assessed previously (1996) as Vulnerable (VU A1abd). The main reason for the change to Near Threatened is that the decline criterion for Vulnerable is not met for some of the largest subpopulations, and they have a disproportionate effect on the assessment of the species as a whole. Also, estimates of current population size for several of the larger stocks are substantially higher than previous estimates (due to better survey methods and not necessarily because of increases in numbers).

Across the global range of Belugas, subpopulations are subject to differing levels of threat and warrant individual assessment. Some subpopulations clearly qualify for threatened status and only one of these – the Cook Inlet subpopulation – has been assessed thus far (as CR) (Lowry et al. 2006). Those other potentially threatened subpopulations (e.g. West Greenland, eastern Hudson Bay, St. Lawrence River, Ungava Bay) that are well-defined and well-studied should be assessed separately as soon as feasible.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2008 – Near Threatened (NT)
  • 1996 – Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1994 – Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1990 – Insufficiently Known (K)
  • 1988 – Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Beluga whales are distributed in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere from the west coast of Greenland westwards to Svalbard (Stewart and Stewart 1989; O'Corry-Crowe 2002). Records from the Sea of Japan and Baltic Sea are considered extralimital, but resident populations occur in cold temperate latitudes in Cook Inlet (Alaska, US) and the St. Lawrence River system (Canada). Satellite telemetry, genetic studies, and organochlorine analyses show belugas have strong matrilineally driven seasonal site fidelity to fjords and estuaries for summering and they migrate to separate wintering grounds (O’Corry-Crowe et al. 1997, Richard et al. 2001, de March et al. 2002, Innes et al. 2002, O’Corry-Crowe et al. 2002, Palsbøll et al. 2002).

The map shows where the species may occur based on oceanography. The species has not been recorded for all the states within the hypothetical range as shown on the map. States for which confirmed records of the species exist are included in the list of native range states.
Countries occurrence:
Canada; Greenland; Russian Federation; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; United States
Belgium; Denmark; Faroe Islands; France; Germany; Iceland; Ireland; Japan; Netherlands; Norway; Sweden; United Kingdom
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Arctic Sea; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – northeast; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – northeast
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population consists of numerous subpopulations with varying degrees of differentiation (hereafter the terms subpopulation and stock are used interchangeably). The International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee (IWC 2000) organized information on belugas on the basis of 29 provisional management stocks. Some of the stock boundaries overlap spatially and seasonally, complicating assessment. Many of the subpopulations or stocks maintain distinct or contiguous geographical ranges during the summer months but mix during the spring and autumn migrations and share common wintering quarters. While good abundance estimates are available for some Beluga subpopulations/stocks, the sizes of others are virtually unknown. Total numbers worldwide are well above 150,000 animals, with many portions of the range unsurveyed. The following estimates for subpopulations/stocks or regions range from relatively precise abundance estimates to rough approximations of numbers in the late 1990s or early 2000s:

Cook Inlet: The number of Beluga whales in Cook Inlet is estimated from counts by aerial observers and aerial video group counts (Hobbs et al. 2000b; Lowry et al. 2006). The most recent published estimate at the time of the present assessment (May 2008) was 302 (CV=0.16) in 2006 (Angliss and Outlaw 2007). In addition, the National Marine Fisheries Service had indicated via a web posting that the point estimate from the 2007 aerial survey was 375.

Bristol Bay: Most recently (1994), the number of Beluga whales in Bristol Bay was estimated at 1,555 (Lowry and Frost 1999). This estimate was based on a maximum count of 503 animals, which was corrected using radio-telemetry data for the proportion of animals that were diving (Lowry and Frost 1999) and for the proportion of newborns and yearlings not observed due to their small size and colouration. Surveys in 1999 and 2000 resulted in maximum counts of 690 and 531, which can be extrapolated to population estimates of 2,133 and 1,642, respectively (L. Lowry, University of Alaska Fairbanks pers. comm. to K. Laidre, 1/07).

Eastern Bering Sea: Aerial surveys of Norton Sound, the summering site for the eastern Bering Sea stock, were conducted in 2000. Preliminary analyses produced an uncorrected estimate of 5,868 animals; when corrected for animals not visible at the surface and for newborn and yearling animals not observed due to their small size and dark coloration, the estimated population size for Norton Sound is 18,142 (CV=0.24) (R. Hobbs, AFSC-NMML pers. comm. 01/07; Angliss and Outlaw 2005).

Eastern Chukchi Sea: Frost et al. (1993) estimated the minimum size of the eastern Chukchi stock of belugas at 1,200, based on counts of animals from aerial surveys conducted during 1989-91. The total corrected abundance estimate for the eastern Chukchi stock is 3,710.

Shared Alaska/Canada
Eastern Beaufort Sea/Beaufort Sea: The most recent aerial survey, conducted in July 1992, resulted in an uncorrected estimate of 19,629 (CV=0.229) (Harwood et al. 1996). The corrected population estimate was 39,258 animals (Angliss and Outlaw 2005).

Cumberland Sound: This stock numbers about 1,500 animals and is thought to have increased since the 1980s (COSEWIC 2004)

Ungava Bay: The Ungava Bay stock is too small to estimate. Hammill et al. (2004) recently estimated it at <50 animals; none were seen on a survey conducted in 2001.

West Hudson Bay: There are estimated to be more than 23,000 Belugas in western Hudson Bay and more than 1,300 along the southern Hudson Bay coast (Richard 1991).

East Hudson Bay: Belugas in Eastern Hudson Bay have declined from 4,200 (SE 300) in 1985 to 3,100 (SE 800) in 2004 (corrected estimates) (Hammill et al. 2005).

St Lawrence River: The St. Lawrence subpopulation is estimated to be in the order of 900–1,000 individuals. There is no evidence of a significant trend in abundance since 1988 (COSEWIC 2004).

Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay: A survey in 1996 estimated 21,213 Belugas (95% CI 10,985 to 32,619) in the waters surrounding Somerset Island: Barrow Strait, Peel Sound and Prince Regent Inlet (Innes et al. 2002). This estimate takes into account both whales missed by observers and those that might have been unavailable for detection due to diving behaviour. It includes whales that move to West Greenland during the winter.

Shared Canada/Greenland
West Greenland: Aerial surveys flown in late winter in West Greenland between 1981 and 1994 found that Beluga numbers had decreased by 62% during that period, probably because of over-harvesting (Heide-Jørgensen and Reeves 1996). Further surveys in 1998 and 1999 confirmed the decline and found 7,941 (95% CI: 3650-17278) belugas in West Greenland, including whales missed by the observers and whales that were submerged during the survey (Heide-Jørgensen and Acquarone 2002). Heide-Jørgensen et al. (2003) estimate that approximately 30% of the Eastern Canadian high Arctic/Baffin Bay beluga stock migrates to West Greenland for overwintering.

Belugas have never been surveyed around Svalbard. Pods numbering into the thousands are sighted irregularly around the archipelago, and pods ranging from a few to a few hundred individuals are seen regularly (Gjertz and Wiig 1994, Kovacs and Lydersen 2006).

Eastern and Central Russian Arctic: There are no rigorous abundance estimates for the Eastern and Central Russian Arctic (Boltunov and Belikov 2002). Rough estimates of a few thousand in Anadyr Gulf and a few thousand in the western Chukchi and eastern East Siberian Seas were summarized in a table compiled by the IWC Scientific Committee (IWC 2000). In addition to those animals, belugas from Alaskan stocks (e.g. eastern Bering Sea, eastern Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea stocks) move into eastern Russian waters during the winter. The IWC table mentioned above (IWC, 2000) indicates a rough estimate of 18,000–20,000 in the Okhotsk Sea.

Western Russian Arctic: Belugas in the Western Russian Arctic occupy four major areas: (1) southern Barents and White seas, (2) southern Barents and Kara seas, (3) coastal waters of the Kara Sea, and (4) western portion of the Laptev Sea. They may share wintering grounds to some extent. Surveys have not yet been conducted in the Barents and Kara seas and the number of Belugas inhabiting these regions is unknown. The White Sea hosts a resident population of belugas numbering about 1,000 over-wintering individuals. In summer, this number is augmented by animals from the Barents Sea.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Belugas are relatively well-studied as a result of carcass sampling in association with hunting, along with a considerable amount of satellite-linked radio-tracking (Richard et al. 1998a,b; Richard et al. 2001; Lydersen et al. 2001; Heide-Jørgensen et al. 2003a; Hobbs et al. 2005).

Belugas occur seasonally (mainly in summer) in coastal waters as shallow as 1–3 m deep but also in deep offshore waters (800 m). They typically enter estuaries and sometimes move upstream into rivers; there are records of individuals or small groups ranging hundreds of kilometers from the sea. They occupy estuaries, continental shelf and slope waters, and deep ocean basins in conditions of open water, loose ice, and heavy pack ice. Belugas generally prefer to overwinter in shallow or coastal areas, usually with light or highly moveable ice cover (Barber et al. 2001, Richard et al. 2001, Suydam et al. 2001, Heide-Jørgensen et al. 2003a) and may occur as fully Arctic populations (Richard et al. 1998b, Richard et al. 2001, Suydam et al. 2001) or sub-Arctic populations (Hobbs et al. 2005).

Some Belugas undertake large-scale annual migrations between summering and wintering sites, while others remain in the same area year-round, shifting offshore only when excluded from coastal habitat by fast-ice formation (Hobbs et al. 2005). Large numbers of migratory Belugas occur along the northwestern and northern Alaskan coast, in the Canadian high Arctic, and in western Hudson Bay. At certain times of the year, those whales migrate thousands of kilometers, in some cases as far as 80oN into dense pack ice (Suydam et al. 2001) or thousands of kilometers into the North Water polynya or to the pack ice off West Greenland (Richard et al. 1998a,b; Richard et al. 2001; Heide-Jørgensen et al. 2003a). Non-migratory belugas that generally make seasonal shifts in distribution of less than a few hundred kilometers are found in Cook Inlet, Cumberland Sound, Svalbard, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Lydersen et al. 2001; Kingsley 2002; Hobbs et al. 2005).

While the general features of Beluga whale habitat can be described for the relatively well-studied populations, the importance of those features is not well understood (Laidre et al. in press). For example, the summer occupation of nearshore/estuarine waters has been ascribed alternatively to feeding (Seaman et al. 1982), to warm water providing a thermal advantage to neonates (Sergeant and Brodie 1969), and to the presence of fresh water and coarse substrates facilitating skin shedding during molt (St. Aubin et al. 1990, Frost et al. 1993). The relative importance of each of those factors likely varies based on the environmental conditions (e.g., water temperatures and prey availability) specific to each of the summering areas (Frost and Lowry 1990a). Similarly, it is unclear why belugas sometimes move into deep, ice-covered waters. One potential reason would be to avoid Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) predation (Frost et al. 1992). However, the movements into the ice appear excessive for what would be needed to avoid killer whales (Suydam et al. 2001) and actually could expose belugas to predation by Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) (Lowry et al. 1987a) as well as increase the risk of entrapment in the ice. It is possible belugas move into ice-covered offshore regions for feeding, primarily on Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida), but few data are available to test this hypothesis. Similarly, the associations of belugas with features such as the continental shelf break (Moore 2000) may be related to oceanographic processes that produce good feeding conditions (Laidre et al. in press).

Dives may last up to 25 min. and can reach depths of 800 m. The Beluga has a diverse diet, which varies greatly from area to area. Although various species of fish are considered to be the primary prey items (including salmon, herring, and Arctic Cod), Belugas also feed on a wide variety of molluscs (such as squid and octopus) and benthic crustaceans (shrimps and crabs). Polar Bears and Killer Whales are known predators of belugas throughout their Arctic range (Frost et al. 1992).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is hunted for food in several parts of its range, and animals are taken for captive display in Russia.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hunting for human consumption is the biggest known threat to belugas across certain portions of their range. The most immediate concerns relate to continuing harvests from small and depleted subpopulations (IWC 2000). The strong philopatry of belugas, which causes them to return to the same estuaries year after year, makes them highly vulnerable to overexploitation. This behavioural trait is undoubtedly the most important natural factor that has led to the extirpation of Belugas from some parts of their range by a combination of commercial and subsistence hunting (e.g. in southwestern Greenland and some river mouths in Ungava Bay, Canada).

Known or potential threats include a variety of human activities in addition to hunting: oil and gas development, expansion of fisheries (with possible implications for bycatch and resource depletion), hydroelectric development (in Hudson Bay), and industrial and urban pollution. Climate change will likely increase the scale and distribution of these activities. Hydroelectric development may affect belugas because of their dependence on estuarine conditions. Areas such as the McKenzie Delta and West Greenland are subject to oil exploration, which often includes seismic surveys, offshore drilling, and artificial island construction. These activities are undertaken in the summer months in the same areas occupied by belugas at this time of year. In a study of responses of belugas to ice-breaking ships, the Belugas typically moved rapidly along ice edges away from approaching ships and showed strong avoidance reactions to approaching ships at distances of 35–50 km (Finley et al. 1990).

Climate change is another potential threat. Belugas may experience climate-induced geographic shifts or altered reproductive success due to persistent changes in extent of sea ice (Tynan and DeMaster, 1997, Laidre et al in press). Belugas are also susceptible to savssats or ice entrapments when sea ice conditions change rapidly.

Threats from contaminants are of concern in some areas. Studies of the small, geographically isolated subpopulation in the St. Lawrence River have found that concentrations of both total PCBs and chlorinated PCB congeners are much higher in these belugas than in Arctic belugas. Some scientists believe that the increased occurrence of opportunistic bacterial infections, parasitic infestation, gastric ulcers and other disorders in St. Lawrence belugas is evidence of a link between immune system dysfunction and PCB exposure (Martineau et al., 1994).

To summarize, in some parts of the species’ range, particularly in Canada and Greenland, intensive hunting represents an ongoing major threat, and in a few instances this is compounded by the less direct and less easily quantified threats (realized and potential) of disturbance by vessel traffic (e.g. St. Lawrence estuary, river mouths in eastern Hudson Bay), habitat modification (e.g. large hydroelectric dams in rivers flowing into Hudson Bay and James Bay), contaminants (e.g. St. Lawrence estuary), climate change (including secondary effects from opening of Arctic and sub-Arctic waters to year-round ship traffic, oil an gas development, commercial fishing), and possibly incidental catch in fisheries (e.g. St. Lawrence estuary).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Although the Beluga was hunted intensively on a commercial basis in many parts of its range during the 20th century, the only known direct removals at present are for food (subsistence use) and the aquarium trade (there is a limited live-capture fishery in Russia). A regional management body, the Joint Committee on Narwhal and Beluga/North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (JCNB/NAMMCO), exists in Canada and Greenland with the expectation that it will ensure the conservation of Belugas. This body sets or recommends catch limits for Beluga populations within member countries. Catch levels from subpopulations range anywhere from <10 to a few hundred animals per year. Removals from some subpopulations/stocks are considered sustainable, however, there is concern and evidence that removals from other subpopulations/stocks are not (e.g. Eastern Hudson Bay and West Greenland) (Alvarez and Heide-Jørgensen 2004, COSEWIC 2004, NAMMCO/JCNB 2005).

It is listed on CITES Appendix II.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.2. Marine Oceanic - Mesopelagic (200-1000m)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.3. Shipping lanes
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.2. Problematic native species
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing: Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Alvarez-Flores, C. and Heide-Jørgensen, M. P. 2004. Risk Assessment of the beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) harvest in West Greenland. ICES Journal of Marine Science 61: 774-786.

Angliss, R. P. and Outlaw, R. B. 2005. Alaska marine mammal stock assessments. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC.

Barber, D. G., Saczuk, E. and Richard, J. P. 2001. Examination of beluga-habitat relationships through the use of telemetry and a geographic information system. Arctic 54: 305-316.

Boltunov, A. N. and Belikov, S. E. 2002. Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) of the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas. In: M. P. Heide-Jørgensen and O. Wiig (eds), Belugas in the North Atlantic and Russian Arctic, pp. 149-168. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4.

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. 2004. Assessment and update status report on the beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas in Canada. Ottawa, Canada Available at:

Finley, K. J., Miller, G. W., Davis, R. A. and Greene, C. R. 1990. Reactions of belugas Delphinapterus leucas and narwhals Monodon monoceros to ice-breaking ships in the Canadian High Arctic. Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 224: 97–117.

Frost, K. J. and Lowry, L. F. 1990. Distribution, abundance, and movements of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, in coastal waters of western Alaska. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 224: 39-57.

Frost, K. J., Lowry, L. F. and Carroll, G. 1993. Beluga whale and spotted seal use of a coastal lagoon system in the northeastern Chukchi Sea. Arctic 46: 8-16.

Frost, K. J., Russell, R. B. and Lowry, L. F. 1992. Killer whales, Orcinus orca, in the southeastern Bering Sea: recent sightings and predation on other marine mammals. Marine Mammal Science 8: 110-119.

Gjertz, I. and Wiig, Ø. 1994. Distribution and catch of white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) at Svalbard. Meddelelser om Gronland Bioscience 39: 93-100.

Hammill, M. O., Lesage, V., Gosselin, J.-F. 2005. Abundance of Eastern Hudson Bay belugas. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Research Document 2005/010.

Hammill, M. O., Lesage, V., Gosselin, J. F., Bourdages, H., De March, B. G. E. and Kingsley, M. C. S. 2004. Evidence of a decline in northern Quebec (nunavik) belugas. Arctic 57: 183-195.

Harwood, L. A., Innes, S., Norton, P. and Kingsley, M. C. S. 1996. Distribution and abundance of beluga whales in the Mackenzie Estuary, Southeast Beaufort Sea and West Amundsen Gulf during late July 1992. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53: 2262-2273.

Heide-Jorgensen, M. and Reeves, R. R. 1993. Description of an anomalous mondontid skull from West Greenland: a possible hybrid? Marine Mammal Science 9: 258-268.

Heide-Jørgensen, M. P. 1994. Distribution, exploitation and population status of white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and narwhals (Monodon monceros) in West Greenland. Meddelelser om Gronland Bioscience 39: 135-150.

Heide-Jørgensen, M. P. and Aquarone, M. 2002. Size and trends of bowhead whales, beluga and narwhal stocks wintering off West Greenland. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4: 191-210.

Heide-Jorgensen, M. P. and Reeves, R. R. 1996. Evidence of a decline in beluga, Delphinapterus leucas, abundance off West Greenland. ICES Journal of Marine Science 53: 61-72.

Heide-Jorgensen, M. P. and Teilmann, J. 1994. Growth, reproduction, age structure and feeding habits of white whales (Delphinpaterus leucas) in West Greenland waters. Meddelelser om Gronland Bioscience 39: 195-212.

Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Lassen, H. and Teilmann, J. 1993. An index of the relative abundance of wintering belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, and narwhals, Monodon monoceros, off West Greenland. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 50: 2323-2335.

Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Richard, P., Dietz, R., Laidre, K. L., Orr, J. and Schmidt, H. C. 2003. An estimate of the fraction of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Canadian High Arctic that winter in West Greenland. Polar Biology 26: 318-326.

Hobbs, R. C., Lairdre, K. L., Vos, D. J., Mahoney, B. A. and Eagleton, M. 2005. Movements and area use of belugas, Delphinpaterus leucas, in a subarctic Alaskan estuary. Arctic 58: 331-340.

Hobbs, R. C., Rugh, D. J. and Demaster, D. P. 2000. Abundance of belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska, 1994-2000. Marine Fisheries Review 62: 37-45.

Innes, S., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Laake, J. L., Laidre, K. L., Cleator, H. J., Richard, P. and Stewart, R. E. A. 2002. Surveys of belugas and narwhals in the Canadian High Arctic in 1996. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4: 169-190.

International Whaling Commission. 2000. Report of the Sub-Committee on Small Cetaceans. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 2: 235-264.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Kingsley, M. C. S. 2002. Status of the belugas in the St. Lawrence estuary, Canada. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4: 239-258.

Kovacs, K.M. and Lydersen, C. (eds). 2006. Birds and Mammals of Svalbard. Polarhåndbok No. 13, Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway, Grafisk Nord AS, Finnsnes, Norway.

Laidre, K.L., Stirling, I., Lowry, L.F., Wiig, Ø., Heide-Jørgensen, M.P. and Ferguson, S.H. 2008. Quantifying the sensitivity of Arctic marine mammals to climate-induced habitat change. Ecological Applications 18: S97-S125.

Lowry, L. F. and Frost, K. J. 1999. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee surveys of beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, 1993-1994. Report to the International Whaling Commission SC/51/SM32.

Lowry, L., O’Corry-Crowe, G. and Goodman, D. 2006. Delphinapterus leucas (Cook Inlet population). 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Lydersen, C., Martin, A. R., Kovacs, K. M. and Gjertz, I. 2001. Summer and autumn movements of white whales Delphinapterus leucas in Svalbard, Norway. Marine Ecology Progress Series 219: 265-274.

March, B. G. E., de, Maiers, L. D. and Friesen, M. K. 2002. An overview of genetic relationships of Canadian and adjacent stocks of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) with emphasis on Baffin Bay and Canadian eastern Arctic stocks. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4: 17-38.

Martineau, D., De Guise, S., Fournier, M., Shugart, L. R., Girard, C., Lagace, A. and Beland, P. 1994. Pathology and toxicology of beluga whales from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada. Past, present and future. Science of the Total Environment 154: 201-215.

Moore, S. E. 2000. Variability of cetacean distribution and habitat selection in the Alaskan Arctic, Autumn 1982-91. Arctic 53: 448-460.

North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission. 2000. Report of the NAMMCO scientific committee working group on the population status of Beluga and Narwhal in the North Atlantic. Annual Report of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, Tromsø, Norway, 1999.: 153–188.

O'Corry-Crowe, G. M. 2002. Beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas. In: W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J. G. M. Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 94-99. Academic Press.

O'Corry-Crowe, G. M., Dizon, A. E., Suydam, R. S. and Lowry, L. F. 2002. Molecular genetic studies of population structure and movement patterns in a migratory species: the beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, in the western Nearctic. In: C. J. Pfeiffer (ed.), Molecular and Cell Biology of Marine Mammals, pp. 53-64. Kreiger Publishing Company.

O’Corry-Crowe, G. M., Suydam, R. S., Rosenberg, A., Frost, K. J. and Dizon, A. E. 1997. Phylogeny, population structure, and dispersal of the beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas in the western Nearctic revealed by mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Ecology 6: 955-970.

Palsbøll, P., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P. and Berubé, M. 2002. Analysis of mitochondrial control region nucleotide sequences from Baffin Bay belugas, Delphinapterus leucas: detecting pods or sub-populations? NAMMCO Scientific Publications 4: 39-50.

Richard, P. R. 1991. Status of the belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, of southeast Baffin Island, Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist 105: 206-214.

Richard, P. R., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P. and St. Aubin, D. 1998. Fall movements of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) with satellite-linked transmitters in Lancaster Sound. Arctic 51: 5-16.

Richard, P. R., Heide-Jorgensen, M. P., Orr, J. R., Dietz, R. and Smith, T. G. 2001. Summer and autumn movements and habitat use by belugas in the Canadian high arctic and adjacent areas. Arctic 54: 207-222.

Richard, P. R., Orr, J. R, Dietz, R. and Dueck, L. 1998. Sightings of belugas and other marine mammals in the North Water, late March 1993. Arctic 51: 1-4.

Seaman, G. A., Lowry, L. F. and Frost, K. J. 1982. Foods of belukha whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in western Alaska. Cetology 44: 19 pp.

Sergeant, D. E. and Brodie, P. F. 1969. Body size in white whales, Delphinapterus leucas. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 26: 2561-2580.

St. Aubin, D. J., Smith, T. G. and Geraci, J. R. 1990. Seasonal epidermal molt in beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69: 359-367.

Stewart, B. E and Stewart, R. E. A. 1989. Delphinapterus leucas. Mammalian Species 336: 1-8.

Suydam, R. S., Lowry, L. F., Frost, K. J., O'Corry-Crowe, G. M. and Pisok, D. 2001. Satellite tracking of eastern Chukchi Sea beluga whales into the Arctic Ocean. Arctic 54: 237-243.

Tynan, C. T. and DeMaster, D. P. 1997. Observations and predictions of Arctic climate change potential effects of marine mammals. Arctic 50: 308-322.

Citation: Jefferson, T.A., Karkzmarski, L., Laidre, K., O’Corry-Crowe, G., Reeves, R., Rojas-Bracho, L., Secchi, E., Slooten, E., Smith, B.D., Wang, J.Y. & Zhou, K. 2012. Delphinapterus leucas. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T6335A17690692. . Downloaded on 01 July 2016.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided