Minke Whale

Minke whale, or lesser rorqual, is a name given to two species of marine mammal belonging to a clade within the suborder of baleen whales. The minke whale was given its official designation by Lacepède in 1804, who described a juvenile specimen of Balænoptera acuto-rostrata. The name is a partial translation of Norwegian minkehval, possibly after a Norwegian whaler named Meincke, who mistook a northern minke whale for a blue whale.

The minke whale is a black/gray/purple color. Common minke whales (Northern Hemisphere variety) are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. The body is usually black or dark-gray above and white underneath. Minke whales have between 240 and 360 baleen plates on each side of their mouths. Most of the length of the back, including dorsal fin and blowholes, appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe.

Minke Whale
  • Size

    The minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale. Upon reaching sexual maturity (6–8 years of age), males measure an average of 6.9 m (23 ft) and females 7.4 m (24 ft) in length, respectively. Both sexes typically weigh 4–5 t at sexual maturity, and the maximum weight may be as much as 10 t.

  • Feeding

    They feeds mainly on krill. During bouts of feeding they will lunge multiple times onto their side (either left or right) into a dense patch of prey with mouth agape and ventral pleats expanded as their gular pouch fills with prey-laden water.

  • Life History

    Minke whales typically live for 30–50 years; in some cases they may live for up to 60 years. The gestation period for minke whales is 10 months, and calves measure 2.4 to 2.8 m (7.9 to 9.2 ft) at birth. The newborns nurse for five to 10 months. Breeding peaks during the summer months. Calving is thought to occur every two years.

  • Behavior

    The whale breathes three to five times at short intervals before 'deep-diving' for two to 20 minutes. Deep dives are preceded by a pronounced arching of the back. The maximum swimming speed of minkes has been estimated
    at 38 km/h (24 mph).