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


Whale (Southern minke whale) Balaenoptera bonaerensis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Mysticeti
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Species: B. bonaerensis
Binominal name: Balaenoptera bonaerensis
Common names: Southern minke whale, Antarctic minke whale, 

The Southern minke whales are among the smallest of the baleen whales and are found in the Southern Hemisphere in these areas Antarctica; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Chile; French Southern Territories; Namibia; New Zealand; Peru; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Suriname; Uruguay.  
Minke whales were hunted extensively by whalers during the 70’s and 80’s with hundreds still being killed today by the Japanese for its meat under the guise of scientific research. 

Adults average length >9 metres and they weight about 10 tonnes. The body colour is usually black or dark brown with streaks of paler colour on their lateral sides, and a distinctly paler belly. They have a narrow, pointed, triangular rostrum. There is a single ridge on the head. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw and is dark grey on both sides. 
The longest baleen plates average >27 cm in length and about > 13.5 cm in breadth and number 155 to 415 pairs. They are two-toned, with a dark grey outer margin on the posterior plates and a white outer margin on the anterior plates. 
They feed almost exclusively on krill while in Antarctic waters. They usually feed in groups but may form huge groups of many hundreds if there is enough food present. 
Their main predators are Killer Whales (Orca). 

A pair of Antarctic minke whales showing their prominent, falcate dorsal fins


Minke whale in the Ross Sea, Antarctica The picture is a scan of an old film.


A tagged Southern minke whale

Diagram showing a whale and scuba diver from the side: The whale is about five times longer than a human.


The blue area is the range of the Southern minke whale.

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