The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
FIN WHALE Balenoptera physalus

FIN WHALE Balenoptera physalus

Fin whales, 'Razorbacks' belong to the family Balaenopteridae or 'Rorqual' (old Norse meaning 'grooved whale') whales, characterised by their sleek body form and pleated throat grooves that expand when the whales feed allowing them to take massive gulps of food and water. Their ventral pleats extend down the belly to the umbilicus.
Fin whales, streamlined and fast, are very large, up to 27m long with a curved dorsal fin placed far back along the back. Upper parts are dark grey with white under parts. Distinctively the left lip and baleen are dark grey and the right are white or cream coloured. Often a chevron pattern behind the head is visible. 56 to 100 ventral grooves run to the navel. Fins were once common in the Falklands as they migrated from Brazil to their summer feeding in the Antarctic, but today they are rarely sighted. They tend to favour deep open ocean situations taking swarms of planktonic crustaceans and small schooling fish.

Once common, but they were severely hunted during the whaling days, being one of the main whales taken at New Island whaling station between 1900 and 1905. They are sighted again in Falklands waters, but not often.

Their IUCN Conservation status is Endangered.






Sources include: Sea Mammals of the World-Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Steware, Phillip J Clapham, James A Powell,Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. Wikipedia, Falklands Conservation, A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife- Hadoram Shirihai, The World's Whales-Minasian, Balcomb lll, Foster,A Field Guide to the Wildlife of The Falkland Islands and South Georgia - Ian J Strange, Sea Mammals of the World- Reeves, Stewart, Clapham, Powell.
Photographic credits: wildestanimal/3drenderings/, Dmtro PYLYpenko/, Juan Gracia/
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