Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
The Fin Whale is found throughout every
ocean in the world, from the tropics to the polar regions.
The dorsal fin - which often slopes backwards - is set about
two-thirds back along the body.
The flukes are broad and triangular, and the head is pointed.
It is dark-grey to brownish-black
in colour, with white undersides and between 55-100 throat
grooves. There are 520-950 baleen plates per animal, the
largest of which is 90cm in length. The Fin Whale is between
19-22.3m long, with the longest recorded animal at 26m;
females are generally larger.
It weighs between 45-75 tonnes. They are one of the faster
of the fastest of the great whales, possibly swimming at
speeds of 37km/h (23mph=20 knots).
The most distinctive feature of this species is the asymmetrical
head color- the left lower jaw is mostrly dark, whilw the
right jaw is mostly white.
The Fin Whale specialises in 'gulping' euphausiids (tiny
plankton), different species of which are preferred in different
geographical locations. Some fish, such as herring and capelin,
as well as squid, are also taken as food. The Fin Whale
dives to a maximum of about 300m and communicates via moans,
pulses, clicks, and grunts, as well as breaching. Longevity:
Approximately 60 years.