By Isabelle Puntoriero
The Minke whale is the second smallest baleen whale. It measures only 9 m in length and weighs 7.6 tonnes. Females are larger than males but weigh roughly the same.
Minke whales are dark gray in color. They have a triangular snout and slender body. Common Minke whales have a white band on the tip of each flipper. But Antarctic Minke whales not have the white band on the tip of each flipper.
The Arctic Minke whale occurs in polar to tropical waters of the southern hemisphere.
They feed on small schooling fish, krill and sometimes plankton.They use the comb-like curtain that hangs from their upper jaw to trap food in the same way as a strainer.
Minke whales have natural predators however they are known to be hunted by packs of Killer Whales and large sharks.
Breeding is most common during the summer months (mating season) where pods of Minke whales can be seen interacting with one another.Female Minke whales will usually produce one offspring every 2 – 3 years and nurse their newborn for 5 – 10 months.
Migration is dependent on where their food source is. They are known to generally be in the open ocean around lower Australia from April to September and have been seen off Brazil from June to December.
Minke whales are active swimmers and use sky hopping to help them to know where they are. They are most often sighted travelling by themselves or in pairs. Their group numbers depend on age and gender.
Body has been streamlined. Tail and fins have changed to give them more power. They have no hair, it has been replaced with a layer of fatty tissue called ‘blubber’. Their lung size has increased to help with diving.
School fish ----------------- Minke Whale ------------------------Killer Whale, Large Sharks