Minke whale - description, habitat, lifestyle

The family of cetaceans is quite extensive and includes about 40 genera, which include 80 species. With all the difference they are united by one feature - impressive dimensions. Minke whale - the smallest and most common member of the family. The species is divided into three subspecies: dwarf, northern, and southern (also known as Antarctic).


Females are slightly larger than males, on average 7.5 meters long, large specimens reach 10 meters.

In males, the length is 6.9-7.1 meters, the maximum is 9-9.9 meters. The average weight of minke whale is 5-6 tons, in some specimens it reaches 14-15 tons. If we compare with the blue whale, which weighs more than a hundred tons, the whale is the owner of a very modest size.

The back is black or dark shades, the belly is light. In whales living in the north, the fin is decorated with a white stripe, thanks to which the animal is easily identified. The inhabitants of the southern seas do not have such a strip. The dorsal fin is curved in the shape of a hook.

The whalebone is yellow in color, in different subspecies it differs in saturation - in some light shades, in others - darker. It grows on both sides of the mouth, counting from 240 to 360 plates.


Minke whale lives in all the world's oceans and in some seas of the Earth. Most common in the Northern Hemisphere. Often comes across in wide bays, estuaries, often visits lagoons and fjords.


Minke whales live in groups of two to four individuals. But they can lead a purely single lifestyle. Although in places where fish walks and a lot of food, a large whale pack is formed. They dive into the water for 5-10 minutes, but can hold out at a depth and longer - up to 20 minutes. Small size allows the whale to move at a good speed - easily develops 40 kilometers per hour. Emerging, produce large water fountains, and with them comes out a not very pleasant smell, which can identify the presence of this whale.

Often, hunting and feeding, animals swim by the passages that icebergs have left, and end up in the winter sharpened in ice. In the ice captivity have to live before the onset of a relatively warm season.

Polosatiki do not adhere to any specific areas, and travel a lot. And in trying to explore the depths of the world or chasing prey, they can swim to the other end of the Earth. There are cases when the whales that live in the Antarctic region often traveled to the northern seas and found themselves off the coast of Greenland and Alaska.

Northern whales, in turn, climb far to the south. Once a tireless inhabitant of the northern seas was discovered in the Amazon.

Preference gives more ponds temperate than tropical. That is, it floats either in the northern seas, or near Australia and Antarctica.


The diet of minke whales consists mostly of not very large fish, krill, plankton and cephalopods - depends on the region of habitat and time of year. For example, inhabitants of the northern hemisphere are happy to eat small fish like capelin, cod or scad, and living in Antarctic waters have to be content with krill. Whales feed mainly in the morning or evening. The daily rate of food is between 3.5 and 5 percent of the total body weight. That is from 150 to 200 kilograms.

Reproduction and development

Minke whales become sexually mature in the sixth year of life. The breeding season in the Atlantic Ocean lasts six months and falls on the period from mid-December to the end of May, while Pacific inhabitants breed year-round. Births occur mainly in June and December.

Pregnancy lasts 310-330 days, one baby is born. The length of the newborn is about three meters, and the weight is more than 400 kilograms. The mother feeds him with milk for five to six months, during which time he is growing up and becoming five meters. Then growth goes more slowly, by one and a half years males grow to 6 meters, females to 7.6.

Economic value

The number of minke whales in the oceans is large enough - about three hundred thousand individuals. He does not enjoy great popularity among whalers. However, there is a certain rate of production, it is about a thousand copies per year. For the most part, whales are used for research purposes. A quantity is sold in the markets.

Watch the video: First Camera To Ever Be Attached to a Minke Whale. WWF-Australia (August 2019).