Minke Whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Length

26-33 feet (8-10.2 m)

Weight

10 tons (9,070 kg)

Distribution

Found in all oceans, they prefer cooler waters and are rarely seen in the tropics

Population

More than one million individuals

Description

The Minke Whale (pronounced mink-ey) is a baleen whale and is the smallest member of the rorqual group (also includes Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Blue Whales, etc). They have long throat grooves that expand while feeding. Minke Whales are counter-shaded, with a dark gray top and creamy white belly. Minke Whales outside of the Antarctic population have distinctive white bands on each pectoral flipper.

Minke whales feed on krill or small schooling fish that get trapped in their baleen plates. They tend to be solitary animals, although they can be seen in pairs or small groups while in feeding or mating/birthing grounds. They are relatively fast whales and can reach speeds beyond 22 mph.

While Minke Whales are plentiful around the world, the population off of the San Diego coast consists of only up to 500 individuals, making them a somewhat rare treat to spot.