Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandOccasionally seen off the coasts of northern and north-western Scotland and southern Ireland.
HabitatThe fin whale is an open ocean whale, not often seen near the coast in north-west Europe. It can be found at the surface or diving down to over 230 metres in depth.
- Up to 24 m in length.
- Dark dorsal and lateral colouration with light streaks; the belly is white.
- Left side of head is grey, right side is white.
- Broad tail flukes from tip to tip.
- Medium-sized dorsal fin set two-thirds down the body.
- Up to 100 ventral pleats ending past the navel.
Additional informationThe fin whale can be confused with the blue whale Balaenoptera musculus but can be recognised by the pointed and V-shaped head with an asymmetrical colouration and the moderate sized dorsal fin that is set less far back on the body. Fin whales are often slightly more social than other rorquals and tend to gather in pods of up to 7 or more individuals. It does occassionally breech but when diving, rarely show the tail flukes. Dives may last up to 10 minutes long (Kinze, 2002).
- Berne Convention
- Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations
- UK & NI Wildlife & Countryside Act
- UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority
- Species of principal importance (England)
- Scottish Biodiversity List
- IUCN Red List
- Priority Marine Features (Scotland)
- Convention on Migratory Species
- Conservation on Natural Habitats 1994
Bruyns, W.F.J.M., 1971. Field guide of whales and dolphins. Amsterdam: Publishing Company Tors.
Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. & Webber, M.A., 1994. FAO species identification guide. Marine mammals of the world. Rome: United Nations Environment Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Kinze, C. C., 2002. Photographic Guide to the Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reid. J.B., Evans. P.G.H., Northridge. S.P. (ed.), 2003. Atlas of Cetacean Distribution in North-west European Waters. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Smith, T.D. (ed.), 2008. World Whaling Database: Individual Whale Catches, North Atlantic. In: M.G Barnard & J.H Nicholls, HMAP Data Pages. www.hull.ac.uk/hmap, 2008-03-13
Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, 2017. BRERC species records recorded over 15 years ago. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/h1ln5p accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.
Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre, 2017. Mammal records for Dumfries and Galloway. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/oirkpx accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 2018. Visual sightings data set 2003-2017. Occurrence dataset: https://hwdt.org/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-27.
Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. Isle of Wight Notable Species. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/sm4ety accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.
Merseyside BioBank., 2017. Merseyside BioBank (verified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ar0p6s accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.
Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, 2017. NBIS Records to December 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jca5lo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-12-06
South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Mammals (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/atlxpp accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service., 2017. Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service (SBIS) Dataset. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ab4vwo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
The Mammal Society., 2017. National Mammal Atlas Project, online recording. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/i2eosa accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre, 2018. Seatrust Cetacean Records West Wales. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ecsmqh accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 2018. WDC Shorewatch Sightings. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/9vuieb accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
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Last Updated: 24/06/2008