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Animal Database
Animal Database
Common Minke Whale
Common Minke Whale
Common Name Northern Minke Whale
Range North Atlantic Ocean

North Pacific Ocean

Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Balaenopteridae
Genus Balaenoptera
Species B. acutorostrata
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Common Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is a species from the Rorqual Whales genus. It is found in both the North Atlantic and the North Pacific Oceans.


The Common Minke Whale is the smallest of the Rorquals, and one of the smallest Baleen Whales (second smallest only to the Pygmy Right Whale). Except for the dwarf form, length ranges from 7 to 9.8 meters and weight ranges from 5 to 10 tons. On average, females are about 0.5 meters longer than males. Newborns range from 2.4 to 3.5 meters. The dwarf form has a smaller adult length of up to 7.8 meters.

The back is dark grey and the belly white. All forms have a pale chevron above the flippers or behind the head. All forms also have a white or light marking on each flipper. On the dwarf form the white marking covers most of the flipper. On the Northern forms, there is a distinct white band running horizontally through the middle of each flipper. This band is more grey in the Scammon's Minke Whales.

The Common Minke Whale differs from the Antarctic variety in several aspects. The Common species is slightly smaller than the Antarctic, which has much less white marking on the flippers. There are also less distinctive differences in body coloration and shape.


Minke Whales prefer temperate to boreal waters, but are also found in tropical and subtropical areas. Minke Whales feed most often in cooler waters at higher latitudes. These Whales can be found in both coastal/inshore and oceanic/offshore areas.


Common Minke Whales have a diverse diet, feeding on various species of Fish and Crustaceans. In the North Atlantic, they prey on Sand Lance, Sand Eel, Salmon, Capelin, Mackerel, Cod, Whiting, Sprat, Wolffish, Dogfish, Pollock, Haddock, Herring, Euphausiids, and Copepods. In the North Pacific, they mainly eat Euphausiids, Japanese Anchovy, Pacific Saury, and Walleye Pollack. In the Southern Ocean, Dwarf Minkes feed mainly on Myctophid Fishes.


Up to 50 years; sexually mature at around 3-8 years of age.



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