Well, I thought I would ask Jeeves to get an answer, but Earl beat him too it… I was also curious. Though, it’s not nearly an indepth enough answer to satisfy me, it’s still informative. I figure it has something to do with how slow and big the whales are vs their predatory skills and course of evolution… One of those bizarre balances in eco-systems, like anteaters… Something has to eat termites and plankton or they would infest the planet! Super impressive to watch them do this from above though… Seaplane > Boat.
Why do huge whales eat such little things as plankton?
Tyler, Age 6
The key idea to remember is that it’s not the size of the plankton, but how much of it you eat. Baleen whales such as blue and humpback whales have special filters in their jaws that let them suck up huge amounts of these small organisms. During feeding season, a blue whale eats up to 8,000 pounds of plankton a day! They swim close to the surface of the water with their mouths wide open, sucking in thousands of gallons of plankton-filled water. The plankton is caught in the baleen fringes, which are like the teeth of a giant comb. This is a very effective way to eat, especially since you don’t have to face potential predators. Plus, you don’t need any knives, forks, or table manners. Baleen whales have it figured out!