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Whale Facts

Fin Whale

fin whale facts


  • Size
    • Is second largest species of whale
    • Is second largest living animal on earth behind the blue whale
    • Can be up to 85 feet long in the southern hemisphere
    • Females are larger than the males by 5-10%
    • Can weigh between 40 and 80 tons
  • Shape
    • Have a long sleek, streamlined body shape with multiple grooves running lengthwise along the throat
    • Part of the family of rorqual whales (baleen whale with throat grooves)
    • Two thirds of the way down its back is a tall hook shaped fin
  • Color
    • Have a distinctive coloration
    • The 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 Whale

humpback whale facts


  • Size:
    • Adult males measure 40-48 feet (12.2-14.6 m)
    • Adult females measure 45-50 feet (13.7-15.2 m). They weigh 25 to 40 tons (22,680-36,287 kg)
    • Its flippers are very long, between 1/4 and 1/3 the length of its body, and have large knobs on the leading edge
    • The flukes (tail), which can be 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, 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
  • Color:
    • The body is black on the dorsal (upper) side, and mottled black and white on the ventral (under) side
    • This color pattern extends to the flukes
    • When the humpback whale "sounds" (goes into a long or deep dive) it usually throws its 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 Whale

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 bulletlike, with a relatively small rostrum
    • Baleen plates number around 300, are yellowish in color, and occasionally assymetrical 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.
  • Color
    • Coloration 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 recognition character 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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