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, which also includes humpback whales, fin whales, Bryde’s whales, sei whales, and blue whales. These whales have throat grooves that expand while the animal is feeding. They are counter-shaded, with a dark gray top and white belly. Those whales outside of the Antarctic population have distinctive white bands on each flipper.

Minke whales feed on krill or small bait fish which get caught in their baleen plates. They tend to be solitary animals, but are sometimes seen in pairs or small groups. They are relatively fast whales and can reach speeds of more than 22 mph.

While minke whales are plentiful around the world, the population off of the San Diego coast consists of only 500 or so individuals, making them a somewhat rare treat to spot.