Balaenoptera acutorostrata - Minke Whale:
/ Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia
/ Balaenoteridae / Balaenoptera
||Summary: Baleen whale
reaching 8-9m/25-30ft. Bright white band across each flipper (D23).
- Males: about 8.0m; females about 8.5m. Northern hemisphere individuals average about
0.5m shorter than southern hemisphere individuals (B142).
- 8-9m/25-30ft (D23).
- Newborn: Length 2.6m (B142).
- Slender body relative to length. Head slender, snout sharply pointed, with straight
borders to rostrum.
- Dorsal body dark grey to black, ventral body and ventral side of flippers white. May
have light chevron on back of head occasionally. May have two pale grey areas, just above
and behind flippers and just below/in front of dorsal fin.
- Baleen plates: maximum 20cm long by 12cm wide, 230-360 on either side
of the upper jaw, yellowish white, sometimes with black streaking, and with fringe of fine
- Throat grooves: 50-70, end behind flippers but in cranial to navel.
- Dorsal fin: Nearly 2/3 of way along back towards tail flukes,
relatively tall, usually distinct sickle shape.
- Flippers: 1/8 of body length, relatively short and narrow. Distinctive
- Tail flukes: broad, with small median notch.
|Range and Habitat
||All oceans (B51).
Britain: "Atlantic seaboard of Britain and Ireland, W and N Norway, the
Faroes and Iceland, often close to the coast. Also occurs in northern and central North
Sea regularly as far south as the Yorkshire coast, but virtually absent from the
- May be seen around Britain May to October, most commonly in August (B142).
- Fish (Clupea, Gadus, Mallotus, Eleginus, Pollachius, Ammodytes
- Euphausiids and pteropods.
- Often feed in upwelling areas around headlands and small islands,
particularly during the summer.
- Engulf prey from behind with mouth open.
- Also use side-feeding and lunge-feeding.
- May use water surface to trap shoals of fish.
- Gestation 10 months.
- Births mainly around December.
- Lactation less than 6 months.
- Calving interval 1-2 years or greater.
- Sexual maturity about 7 years old.
Activity: Cruising swimming speed 5-26km/hour (B142).
- Usually solitary or in pairs.
- Sometimes larger groups when feeding.
- Commonest rorqual world-wide.
- North Atlantic population estimated 50,000 to 100,000.
Organisations (UK Contacts):
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