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Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata

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Minke whale

Minke Whales Statistics

Maximum length: 10.7m (35ft) males / 9.8m (32ft) females
Adult weight: 15 tonnes
Life span: 30 - 50 years
Sexual maturity: 6 years males / 7 years females
Gestation: 10 months
Birth length: 2.4-2.8m (8-9ft)
Birth weight: 400kg (882lbs)
Dive duration: 20 mins
Distribution: poles to tropics, three distinct populations, north pacific, north Atlantic and southern ocean
Current world  500 000 / pre-whaling - 200 000

Minke whales (pronounced Minky) are the smallest of the rorqual whales. There are distinct northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere sub-species, with the northern subspecies being slightly smaller than the southern subspecies.

As the smallest rorquals, minkes were the last to be exploited by whalers when the larger animals had been reduced to a level where they were no longer able to be profitably exploited, so the minkes were targeted as the species of last choice.

Minkes are fast swimming - over 20 kph, meaning that they were difficult to catch too as well as being a relatively small catch.

Minkes are still hunted for "scientific" reasons by Japan, though large quantities of the meat turns up in very expensive restaurants.

Ecology and Behavior

Like other rorquals, minkes migrate to tropical or warm temperate waters in the winter months and spend the summer months at higher latitudes in polar waters where the long day length leads to algal blooms in the sea and associated increases in  plankton and fish stocks means good a feeding time.

Minke whales are generally solitary animals or they are seen in pairs or threes. Larger groups are sometimes found in high latitudes in both hemispheres and groups may number 10 to 15 individuals. Minkes often approach boats, especially when stationary, and are notoriously inquisitive, as such  they are more likely to be seen closely than other rorquals.

Minke Whale, Underwater, Queensland
Minke Whale, Underwater, Queensland
Photographic Print
 
Dwarf Minke Whale, Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Dwarf Minke Whale, Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Photographic Print


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