baleen

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Related to Baleen plate: bowhead whale

baleen

or

whalebone

horny plates which hang from the roof of the mouth in some whales (Mysticeti), e.g. right whales and rorquals. The plates filter out krill (small shrimplike crustaceans) from the sea water as it is forced out of the mouth.
References in periodicals archive ?
They eat zooplankton (little marine animals called copepods and krill), which the whales scoop up and strain from seawater through their baleen plates.
Instead, a row of baleen plates, made of material like that of a human fingernail, grows from the roof of the mouth along each side.
Its distinguishing features include a broad, flat skull and a small number of baleen plates. These form the sieve-like device, made from the same material as fingernails, that the whales use to filter out the tiny crustacea on which they feed.
The new species, named Balaenoptera omurai, also has an unusually- shaped head and a small number of baleen plates. These form the sieve-like device, made from the same material as hair and fingernails, that the whales use to filter out the tiny crustacea on which they feed.
Travelling inside the whale's mouth, 3-D images show how teeth have formed huge baleen plates which act like sieves, filtering out 70 tons of water from the throat pouch, and how the whale's tongue brushes industrial quantities of krill down its throat.
"Most huge marine creatures are so-called `filterfeeders' -- that is, they obtain their foods from the surrounding seawater by straining it through a series of baleen plates in their jaws.