Thursday, December 19, 2013

Common Minke Whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata
The Common Minke Whale is one of the most abundant whale species on the planet-- there are believed to be around 800,000 of them! They also happen to be the smallest of the Rorquals (baleen whales with throat grooves), and reach only 30ft in length.

Common Minke Whales are found in ocean waters worldwide. They usually swim alone, though sometimes pairs or very small groups are observed. Their small size helps to identify them, as does their slim, sleek body, cloudy-grey skin, white fin bands, and double blowhole.

Like all Baleen Whales, the Common Minke feeds on very small fish and invertebrates, filtering their prey through the baleen plates that hang in their mouths.

Because of their abundance, Minke Whales are common targets for human interaction. They are frequent stars of whale watching tours, but they are also hunted by whalers as well. In the past, Minke Whales were not popular whaling targets because of their small size. However, most larger Baleen Whales are now protected, and the Minke Whales have been thriving in their absence. As a result, countries like Norway and Japan take hundreds of the whales each year. The population is believed to be stable overall, but stocks in certain areas are dwindling.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Oceans worldwide
Size : Length around 30ft (9m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Cetacea
Family : Balaenopteridae -- Genus : Balaenoptera -- Species : B. acutorostrata
Images : Rui prieto

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