Minke whale

Minke whale – Balaenoptera acutorostrata – Βόρεια ρυγχοφάλαινα

Other common names:

FR – petit rorqual
ES – rorcual aliblanco
IT – balenottera minore
DE – Zwergfinnwal

The common minke whale is an occasional visitor in the Mediterranean Sea entering the region from the Strait of Gibraltar. The body of a minke whale is slender and very streamlined; the head is narrow and pointed. Adults can reach up to 10 m of body length. The small dorsal fin is usually strongly falcate (curved) and it is positioned about two-thirds of the way down the back, being visible at the same time as the blowhole when the animal surfaces. The blow is not normally visible at sea. The dorsal fin and back are dark grey or black, the belly is bright white and there is a distinctive white band on the upper side of each pectoral fin. Lifespan is estimated at around 40 to 50 years.

IUCN Red List classification: Listed as Least Concern globally (IUCN 2008).