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Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Image Gallery

Photos of the Second-Smallest Baleen Whale

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The minke (pronounced “mink-ee”) whale, is a streamlined baleen whale found in most of the world’s oceans.

Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), are the smallest baleen whale in North American waters and the second-smallest baleen whale worldwide. They can reach lengths up to 33 feet and weigh up to 10 tons. They are also called the little piked whale, lesser rorqual and little finner. They have a very pointed rostrum, which is often the first thing seen when a minke whale surfaces.

Minke whales are cetaceans that belong to the Suborder Mysticeti, the baleen whales. Baleen whales have hundreds of baleen plates hanging from their upper jaw that allow the whale to separate its prey from the ocean water. Minke whales are part of the group of baleen whales called the rorquals, and have pleats in their throat that expand when the whale is feeding. Minke whales feed primarily on crustaceans (e.g., krill), plankton and small schooling fish.

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Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) In the Gulf of MaineBreaching Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) BreachingMinke Whale / Rene Ehrhardt, FlickrMinke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Near LighthouseMinke Whale in Scotland / BOB008, FlickrMinke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Off the Coast of Scotland
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