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|Minke Whale Print-Out|
The minke whale is the smallest baleen whale with 50-70 throat grooves. It is a rorqual whale (baleen whale with throat grooves). They are the most abundant baleen whale. Minke whales have a characteristic white band on each flipper, contrasting with its very dark gray top color. They have 2 blowholes, like all baleen whales.
SKIN, SHAPE AND FINS
The minke whale's skin is very dark gray above and lighter below, sometimes with pale trapezoidal stripes behind the flippers on the top. Minke whales have a characteristic white band on each flipper (this is absent on the southern minke whales).
Minke whales are stocky, having a layer of blubber several inches thick. They have 50-70 throat grooves, running from the chin to the mid-section. The minke whale has two long flippers (up to 1/8 of the body size), a small dorsal fin, and a series of small ridges along the its back near the flukes (tail).
DIET AND BALEEN
Minke whales (like all baleen whales) are seasonal feeders and carnivores. They sieve through the ocean water with their baleen. They filters out small polar plankton, krill, and small fish, even chasing schools of sardines, anchovies, cod, herring, and capelin. They have the same diet as blue whales.
The baleen plates in the minke whale's jaws have about 300 pairs of short, smooth baleen plates. The largest plates are about less than 12 inches (30 cm) long and 5 inches (13 cm) wide. The fine textured baleen bristles are fringed and are creamy-white with pure white bristles..
Minke whales either travel singly or congregated in small pods of about 2-3 whales.
Minke whales can dive for up to 20-25 minutes, but usually make shorter dives, lasting about 10-12 minutes. Just before diving, minke whales arch their back to a great degree, but the flukes do not rise out of the water.
Minke whales breathe air at the surface of the water through 2 blowholes located near the top of the head. At rest, minke whales spout (breathe) about 5-6 times per minute. The spout of the minke whale is a very low, almost inconspicuous stream that rises up to 6.5 feet (2 m) above the water. Minke whales start to exhaling before they reach the surface; this minimizes the blow.
Minke whales normally swim 3-16 mph (4.8-25 kph), but can go up to 18-21 mph (29-34 kph) in bursts when in danger. Feeding speeds are slower, about 1-6 mph (1.6-9.8 kph).
Minke whales makes very loud sounds, up to 152 decibels (as loud as a jet taking off). They make series (trains) of grunts, thuds, and raspy sounds, usually in the 100-200 Hertz range. These sounds may be used in communication with other minke whales and in echolocation.
HABITAT AND RANGE
Minke whales live at the surface of the ocean in all but polar seas.
Minke whales have a life expectancy of over 20 years.
Minke whales are the most abundant baleen whale. It is estimated that there are about almost 800,000 minke whales world-wide.
Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) are baleen whales (Suborder Mysticeti). They are one of 76 cetacean species, and are marine mammals.
Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata (vertebrates)
Class Mammalia (mammals)
Order Cetacea (whales and dolphins)
Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
Minke Whale Connect-the-Dots
A first grade addition activity. Solve the 1-digit addition problems, then do letter substitutions to answer a whale question.
A Minke whale word hunt activity - For second and third graders.
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