Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
|Researched by||Rose Edwards||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandRecorded along the Atlantic coasts of Britain and Ireland, and the northern and central North Sea, south to the Yorkshire coast. Rare in the English Channel, with localised records in the Irish Sea.
Global distributionRecorded throughout the North Atlantic, Norwegian coast, the White Sea, Iceland, the Faeroes, the northern North Sea, Skagerrak. Occasionally in the Baltic Sea, north African coast, western Mediterranean, west Greenland and the east coast of America.
HabitatAn open water species, most often seen in coastal and inshore areas but sometimes enters inlets, bays or estuaries.
- Dark grey-black back with a curved dorsal fins and a white band on the outer part of the flippers.
- 30-70 throat grooves present, ending before the naval.
- A double blow hole and short baleen plates present. Very pointed head.
- Medium size; up to 10 m long.
Additional informationThe blow is very weak and can been seen at the same time as the dorsal fin appears. Spyhopping and breaching are common for this species, which forms small groups of up to 3 individuals. The Minke can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes (Kinze, 2002).
This whale could be confused at a distance with the Sei whale and the Bryde's whale as they are relatively the same size, however the weak blow of the Minke whale and dorsal fin appearing at the same time as the blow is characteristic. At close range the white bands on the Minke's flippers are diagnostic (Jefferson et al., 1993; Kinze, 2002).Baleen whales are included in group species action plan under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (Anon, 1999v). All baleen whales are protected under schedule 5 in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. All whales are listed on Annex A of EU Council Regulation 338/97 and therefore treated by the EU as if they are on CITES, Appendix I, thus prohibiting their commercial trade (Anon, 1999v). Whales are listed in Appendix I of CITES, Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annex IV of the EC Habitats Directive (Anon, 1999v).
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Last Updated: 19/04/2006