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Balaenopteridae - Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Minke Whale

 

Classification

 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Mammalia
 Order: Cetacea
 Family: Balaenopteridae

Humpback WhaleThere are eight species of baleen whales in this family. This family is also known as the rorqual whales. Rorqual is a Norwegian word for furrow. The whales in this family have furrows in their skin that run from their lower mouth to their stomach.

They vary in size from the 25-30 foot long minke whale to the 65-90 foot blue whale. They filter feed on krill and other small crustaceans and ocean creatures. Most of the species in this family live in open ocean waters. In the winter, they breed in temperate ocean waters.

In the summer, they migrate to cold polar waters that are rich in krill and plankton. Species in this family include: the minke whale, the sei whale, the blue whale, the fin whale, the humpback whale, and Bryde's whale.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct Not Enough DataNot Enough Data
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist.

U.S. Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Endangered in US Endangered in US Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife. Click on U.S. status icon to go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife species profile.
  New Hampshire Status Key
Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Breeds in NH Breeds in NH (birds)
Status taken from NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH More Info Click for More Info picture Click for Image
Arctic Ocean Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean indian Ocean Indian Ocean pacific ocean Pacific Ocean southern ocean Southern Ocean

New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

Humpback Whale - Megaptera novaeangliae Least Concern Endangered in US image More Info
Common Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata Least Concern image More Info
  Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus Endangered Endangered in US image More Info
Bryde's Whale  - Balaenoptera edeni Data Deficient image More Info
Fin Whale - Balaenoptera physalus Endangered Endangered in US image More Info
Sei Whale  - Balaenoptera borealis Endangered Endangered in US image More Info

Other Species Around the World

Antarctic Minke Whale - Balaenoptera bonaerensis Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean More Info
Omura’s Whale -  Balaenoptera omurai Data Deficient pacific ocean image More Info
   

Additional Information

Resource Key
profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio interactive Interactive

Humpback Whale Migration Game interactive
Learn more about humpback whales and how they migrate.
Source: Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Elementary School Teacher Section: No

Antarctic Minke Whale - Balaenoptera bonaerensis Photos Video Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
At 24-34 feet in length, the Antarctic minke whale is one of the smallest baleen whales.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Antarctic Minke Whale - Balaenoptera bonaerensis profile Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
The Antarctic minke whale is found in polar to tropical waters of the southern hemisphere.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus profile Photos Video Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
The blue whale is found in the open ocean, usually along the continental shelf edge and near polar ice.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Blue whales are found in all oceans of the world, and they are the largest animals to ever live on Earth.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
There are three subspecies of blue whale- Northern Hemisphere blue whale, the Northern Hemisphere blue whale, the Antarctic blue whale, and the pygmy blue whale.
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus profile Photos Audio Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
A blue whale's tongue can weigh as much as an elephant.
Source: National Geographic Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Blue Whale - Balaenoptera musculus profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels.
Source: Enchanted Learning Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Elementary School Teacher Section: Yes

Bryde's Whale  - Balaenoptera edeni profile Photos Video Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
The Bryde’s whale is found in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the Atlantic, Pacific. and Indian Oceans.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Bryde's Whale  - Balaenoptera edeni profile Photos Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Bryde's whales are dark gray with a yellowish white underside.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Bryde's Whale  - Balaenoptera edeni profile Photos Data Deficient atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Bryde's whales are named for Johan Bryde, a Norwegian man who built the first whaling stations in South Africa.
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Common Minke Whale- Balaenoptera acutorostrata profile Photos Video Least Concern Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
The minke whale has a a pointed 'dolphin-like' head and a double blowhole.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Common Minke Whale- Balaenoptera acutorostrata profile Photos Least Concern Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
In Antarctic waters, minke whales make up most of a killer whale's diet (up to 85%).
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Common Minke Whale- Balaenoptera acutorostrata profile Photos Video Least Concern Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Minke whales travel either alone or in small groups of 2-4 individuals.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Fin Whale - Balaenoptera physalus profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
Occasionally fin whales form groups of nearly 250 individuals near feeding grounds or during migration periods.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Fin Whale - Balaenoptera physalus profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean southern ocean pacific ocean
Fin whales sometimes mate with blue whales and hybrids have been documented.
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Humpback Whale - Megaptera novaeangliae profile Photos Least Concern Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Humpback whales are highly migratory and are found in all oceans. Male humpback whales sing complex songs that can last up to 20 minutes and be heard 20 miles away!
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Humpback Whale - Megaptera novaeangliae profile Photos Audio Least Concern Endangered in US Arctic Ocean atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
Hawaii is the only state in the United States where humpback whales mate, calve, and nurse their young.
Source:
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Omura’s WhaleBalaenoptera omurai profile pacific ocean
Omura's whale has only been identified since 2003. It was previously thought to be a pygmy form of Bryde’s whale.
Source:
ICUN Redlist Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Sei Whale - Balaenoptera borealis profile Photos Video Endangered Endangered in US atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
The sei whale tends to avoid coastal waters.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Sei Whale - Balaenoptera borealis profile Photos Endangered Endangered in US atlantic Ocean indian Ocean pacific ocean
An average sei whale eats about 2,000 pounds of food per day.
Source: NOAA Fisheries Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes