Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Whales

Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Description

Fin whales are famous for being the second largest animal on the planet only behind the blue whale. Its average length is 20m and an average weight of 51 tonnes, with females typically larger than males. Fin whales have a sleek appearance with a streamlined body, a V-shaped head, and a tall, low-angled dorsal fin two-thirds of the way back on the body. Their distinct coloration consists of black or dark-brown on the back and sides with a white underside. Despite their size, fin whale are fast swimmers thanks to their streamlined body shape and live in social groups of 2-7 individuals. In the North Atlantic, fin whales can be seen feeding in larger groups alongside other cetacean species, including minke whales, humpback whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Habitat

Deep, offshore waters of all major oceans (less common in the tropics).

Diet

Feed on krill, squid, and small fishes (ex: herring and capelin).

Protection Status

According to the IUCN Red List, listed as “Vulnerable” both in the Mediterranean and worldwide. Their main threats are shipping transportation, pollution, and climate change.

Interesting Fact

The fin whale’s vocalizations, along with the blue whale, are the lowest-frequency sounds made by an animal. Its vocalizations were first recorded by U.S. biologists, and since they did not know the origin of the sounds, the biologists first hypothesized that the origin of the noises came from equipment malfunction, geophysical phenomena, or a Soviet Union scheme for detecting enemy submarines.

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