T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Whale (Fin whale) Balaenoptera physalus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Species: B. physalus
Binomial name: Balaenoptera physalus
Common names: Finback whale, Common rorqual, Herring whale, Razorback whale.

The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is a marine mammal belonging to the parvorder of baleen whales. It is the second-largest mammalian species on Earth after the blue whale. The largest confirmed length is 25.9 m and a maximum recorded weight of nearly 74 tonnes. Balaenoptera physalus are rare in New Zealand waters. It is believed that they live up to 80 years. The fin whale is also remarkable for its long migration, and its speed. It travels as far as 20,000 kilometres each year from the Antarctic to the tropics to mate and calve. Known as the ‘greyhound of the oceans’, it is noted for its stamina. One whale averaged 17 kilometres per hour over 3,700 kilometres.

The fin whale's body is long and slender, coloured brownish-grey with a paler underside. It is found in all the major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. The highest population density occurs in temperate and cool waters. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including copepods.

The southern hemisphere population is estimated to be about 20,000, a fraction of the pre-whaling numbers. From the 1950s to the 1970s Soviet whalers killed 720,000 in the Southern Ocean region. 

Balaenoptera physalus skeleton in the salt museum "Salinas del Carmen",

Size comparison of an average human (in SCUBA diving attire) and a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/