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  Whale Biology  



minke whale - Pieter FolkensMinke Whale
Balaenoptera acutorostrata
{not Federally listed as endangered or threatened}

The minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, is the smallest of the baleen whales, and is found globally in tropical, temperate, and polar waters. Adult males average 8 m in length and weigh up to 6 tons, while females can attain lengths of 8.5 m and weigh 8 tons. The minke whale is a sleek animal with a sharply pointed head, flat rostrum, broad flukes, and a prominent falcate dorsal fin. Minke whales are primarily black or dark steel gray in color, with lighter undersides and a pale dorsal chevron behind the head. A distinctive feature is the white patch or "mitten" on both flippers.

aerial view-minke whale In the North Pacific, especially the eastern North Pacific, minkes are primarily a coastal species (Green et al. 1989) and feed on euphausiids, copepods, schooling fish, and squid (Nemoto 1970, Stewert and Leatherwood 1985). They breed year round, and breeding activity appears to peak in January and June (Omura and Sakiura 1956). There are no reliable estimates of population status or trends for north Pacific minke whales (Small and DeMaster 1995).