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Text: Mammals.
   
Fin Whale
Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus.
Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus
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Where are they found? Atlantic OceanPacific Ocean

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Sometimes called "the greyhound of the deep", the fin whale can reach speeds of up to 25 knots for short bursts. Their usual cruising speed is about 22 knots.

In this species, as well as the other rorquals (blue, sei, Bryde's, minke and humpback whales), the female is larger than the male. The maximum head/body length of females is 27 m (88.5 ft.) and 25 m (82 ft.) for males. A 25-metre-long animal has been estimated to weigh around 70 000 kg (155,000 lb.). These maximums are achieved by fin whales from the southern hemisphere. The northern animals average about 25% smaller.

Fin whales reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence on their northern migration in March and they are common off Newfoundland and Labrador in June, usually appearing about 40 km (25 mi.) off shore. They are also fairly common off Canada's western coast during most of the summer.

The population plummeted from about 500 000 adult animals prior to exploitation, which began in the 1860s, to fewer than 80 000 by the 1980s. Despite partial bans on whale hunting implemented by the International Whaling Commission in the 1970s, the population has not shown signs of recovery.


More Images
Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus. Photo: Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus.


Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Cunningham River estuary.


To cite this page for personal use:
“Fin Whale”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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An image from the interactive.

Evolution of Appendages

3D animation: Explore our evolutionary connection to other mammals through the human hand, the bat wing and the whale flipper.
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