Fin whale

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Fin whale[1]
Finhval (1).jpg
A fin whale surfacing in Greenland
Illustration of a whale and a human diver. The whale is many times the size of the human.
Size compared to an average human
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Species:
B. physalus
Binomial name
Balaenoptera physalus
Subspecies
  • B. p. physalus
  • B. p. quoyi
Cypron-Range Balaenoptera physalus.svg
Fin whale range
Synonyms
List
  • Balaena physalus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Balaena boops Linnaeus, 1758
  • Balaena antiquorum Fischer, 1829[4]
  • Balaena quoyi Fischer, 1829
  • Balaena musculus Companyo, 1830
  • Balaenoptera rorqual Lacépède, 1804
  • Balaenoptera gibbar Lacépède, 1804
  • Balaenoptera mediterraneensis Lesson, 1828[5]
  • Balaenoptera jubartes Dewhurst, 1834[6]
  • Balaenoptera australis Gray, 1846
  • Balaenoptera patachonicus Burmeister, 1865
  • Balaenoptera velifera Cope, 1869
  • Physalis vulgaris Fleming, 1828
  • Rorqualus musculus F. Cuvier, 1836
  • Pterobalaena communis Van Beneden, 1857[7]

The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is a huge baleen whale. It is the second largest animal on Earth (the blue whale is the biggest). This whale is sometimes called the "greyhound of the sea" because of its fast swimming speed; it can swim up to 23 mph (37 km/hr) in short bursts. The fin whale is also called the finback, finner, razorback, common rorqual, and herring whale.

Description[change | change source]

The fin whale is a streamlined whale that is found worldwide; it is most common in the North Atlantic. There are three separate populations of fin whales, one in the North Pacific, one in the North Atlantic, and one in the Southern Hemisphere; they do not interbreed. Many groups of fin whales migrate between feeding grounds and breeding grounds. This whale usually swims in pods of 3-7 whales but larger groups (up to 300 animals) may form at rich feeding grounds.

Diet and baleen[change | change source]

Fin whales are filter feeders that eat plankton (tiny crustaceans like krill and copepods) and small fish from the water. They have very fine grey-black baleen that traps very small particles of food. Each side of the upper jaw has 270-470 baleen plates.

References[change | change source]

  1. Mead, J.G.; Brownell, R. L. Jr. (2005). "Order Cetacea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 725. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. Cooke, J.G. (2018). "Balaenoptera physalus (worldwide)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2018: e.T2478A50349982. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  3. European Mammal Assessment team (2007). "Balaenoptera physalus (Europe)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2007: e.T2478A9448238. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  4. Fischer, Johann Baptist (1829). Synopsis Mammalium. p. 525.
  5. Hist. Nat. Gén. et Partie, des Mamm. et Oiseaux découverts depuis 1788
  6. Nat. Hist. Cetacea
  7. Académie Royale Des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (Bruxelles) (1859). Bulletins de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts ... – Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (Bruxelles) – Google ubNX. p. 403. ISBN 9781013223624.