Fin Whales

fin whale facts


  • Size
    • Fin Whales are the second largest species of whale
    • Fin Whales are the second largest living animals on earth behind the Blue Whale
    • They an be up to 26 m (85 feet) long in the Southern Hemisphere
    • Females are larger than the males by 5-10%
    • They can weigh between 40 and 80 tonnes
  • Shape
    • Fin Whales have a long sleek, streamlined body shapes with multiple grooves running lengthwise along their throats
    • They are part of the family of rorqual whales (baleen whale with throat grooves)
    • Two-thirds of the way down their backs are tall hook-shaped fins
  • Colour
    • Fin Whales have a distinctive colouration
    • The whale's back and sides are dark grey to black with the belly being white
    • The lower jaw is always dark on the left side and white on the right side

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Humpback Whales

humpback whale facts


  • Size
    • Adult males measure 12.2-14.6 m (40-48 feet)
    • Adult females measure 13.7-15.2 m (45-50 feet). They weigh 22-36 kg (25 to 40 tonnes)
    • Humpback Whales have very long flippers, between 1/4 and 1/3 the length of body length, with large knobs on the leading edge
    • The flukes (tail) can be 5.5 m (18 feet) wide and is serrated and pointed at the tips
  • Shape
    • The head of a Humpback Whale is broad and rounded when viewed from above, but slim in profile
    • The body is not as streamlined as other rorquals, but is quite round, narrowing to a slender peduncle (tail stock)
    • The top of the head and lower jaw have rounded, bump-like knobs, each containing at least one stiff hair
    • The purpose of these hairs is not known, though they may allow the whale to detect movement in nearby waters
    • There are between 20-50 ventral grooves which extend slightly beyond the navel
  • Colour
    • The body is black on the dorsal (upper) side, and mottled black and white on the ventral (under) side
    • This colour pattern extends to the flukes
    • When the Humpback Whale "sounds" (goes into a long or deep dive) they usually throw their flukes upward, exposing the black and white patterned underside. This pattern is distinctive to each whale
    • The flippers range from all white to all black dorsally, but are usually white ventrally.  About 2/3 of the way back on the body is an irregularly shaped dorsal (top) fin
  • Lifespan
    • Humpback Whales have a life expectancy of 45-50 years

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Minke Whales

minke whale facts


  • Size
    • The Antarctic Minke is among the smallest rorqual species
    • On average, the Antarctic Minke is slightly longer than all forms of the common Minke
    • Mature males average 8.36 m in length and weigh 6.85 tons, but they can reach a total length of 9.63 m and a weight of 11.05 tons
    • Females are slightly longer with a mean total length of 7.57 m and a maximum measured length of 10.22 m
    • Females are larger than males, occasionally growing to a maximum of 10,000 kg
  • Shape
    • Minke Whales are stocky, having a layer of blubber several inches thick
    • The Minke Whale has two long flippers (up to 1/8 of the body size), a small dorsal fin, and a series of small ridges along the its back near the flukes (tail)
    • The head is pointed and bullet-like, with a relatively small rostrum
    • Baleen plates number around 300, are yellowish in colour, and occasionally asymmetrical in pattern
    • There are between 50-70 ventral throat grooves
    • The dorsal fin is hook-shaped and located about two-thirds the length of the body from the anterior
    • A broad white band trims the dorsal side of flippers
    • The tail extends into two long tips
    • The dorsal fin is high and curved back
    • The rostrum is narrow and pointed baleen plates are black on the left side and on the posterior 2/3 of the right side, while the remaining baleen plates are white. The baleen plate filaments average about 3.0 mm in diameter. Antarctic Minke Whales have larger skulls than common Minke Whales
  • Colour
    • Colouration is dark above, with a white underbelly
    • Similar to common Minke Whales, Antarctic Minke Whales are dark grey on the back with a pale ventral side
    • The main characteristic that allows for the distinction of Antarctic Minke Whales from common Minke Whales is the absence of a white patch on the flippers in Antarctic Minke Whales
  • Lifespan
    • Minke Whales have a life expectancy of over 20 years

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