Length

up to 85 ft long

Weight

about 163,000 pounds

Population

global population ranges from 100,000 – 119,000

Distribution

The fin whales habitat in all major oceans ranging from polar to tropical waters. The highest population will be found in temperate to cool waters.

Description

What is the second largest whale? Meet the fin whale. The fin whale is part of the baleen family with their scientific name being Balaenoptera physalus. This species gets its name from its distinguishable dorsal fin on its back, located near the tail. The fin whale has a v-shaped head, with a very thin, sleek body type. They have very distinct coloring of dark grey, almost black, on their sides with a white underbelly.

The fin whale feeds on krill, small schools of fish, and squid. They are social whales, traveling in groups of about 7. The North Atlantic populations have been seen to travel in feeding groups that consist of humpback whales, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, and minke whales. They are extremely fast swimmers, which lead to many people wondering, “Why are fin whales endangered?” Although they are quick, with advances to whaling methods in the mid-1900’s, commercial whalers targeted fin whales. However, there are now 3 leading causes to fin whale deaths- vessel strikes, entanglement, and ocean noise.