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Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata


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Minke Whale
credit: Bawolfe/CCSA

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Family: Balaenopteridae, Rorquals view all from this family

Description Unique with white band on flippers and a sharply pointed snout. Flippers are rarely all dark. Hooked dorsal fin is largest, in relative size, of all baleen whales. Dark gray back. White on belly and chin extends dorsally in center of back. Baleen is yellowish white. Rarely has visible blow.

Dimensions 7.6-9.8m; / 7.3-10.7m, 5000-9,000kg

Breeding Breeding occurs year-round, but more commonly from October-March, with young born 10 months later. Young are 2.5m long at birth and nurse for about 4-5 months. Animals grow steadily until they are about 30 years old.

Habitat Offshore waters, Beaches, shorelines & estuaries

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas, California, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Common, especially in cooler waters, where they are solitary or in small groups of 2 or 3, although larger aggregations may occur on exceptionally productive feeding grounds. They are attracted to boats, perhaps by the noise of the motor. Often seen near coast while migrating north in spring and summer and farther offshore when returning south in autumn and winter.