Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

Meaning of species name is "sharp/pointed snout".

Smallest and most abundant of the rorquals ("red-throats", named after the pinkish tint of their vascularized ventral grooves). Cosmopolitan.

At sea identification: Mature animals are 8 m in length, black or dark grey in color, with a light underside. Small, sickle-shaped dorsal fin at the front of the posterior 1/3 of the back. Seen from above, the head looks flat, V-shaped, with a single central ridge. Exposes little of its body when surfacing to breath and has an inconspicuous blow. Travels solitary, in pairs, or in small groups, it is rather inquisitive and tends to approach vessels

Identifying marks on land: Baleen plates, double blow hole and flashing white strip in the middle of the pectoral fins (also noticeable at sea when at close range).

Feeds on schooling pelagic fish and shrimps and is preyed upon by killer whale. Pregnancy lasts 10 months and calves are born every second year during the cold season. Rare in the Mediterranean, genetically related to the North Atlantic population. Individuals (including mother-lactating calf pairs) apparently venture seasonally into the region during late winter and spring.

Additional facts: Adult weight: 9 tons Newborn length is 2.8 meters and weight is 320 kg Sexual maturity: 6-7 years. Life expectancy: 50 years.

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