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Fin whale/common rorqual|
There may be two subspecies - northern and southern.
Body length is up to 26m long. Females are longer than males and the northern hemisphere population is smaller. Weight: 30-80 tonnes. It is the second largest animal on the planet.
Fin whales are long, sleek and hydrodynamic. They are are brown/grey above and white on their undersides. Their lower lip is white and the rest of the head is black or grey. They have a greyish-white chevron mark on their backs and a single longitudinal ridge on the head. Their fin slopes back.
The blow is tall and can rise to around 15m.
Fin whales have a worldwide distribution, but they are not common in tropical seas and polar seas with ice.
Fin whales feed on a variety of planktonic animals as well as crustaceans, squid and fish. In spring, in the bay of Fundy, they feast on herring, consuming around two tonnes a day.
Fin whales tend to live in groups of three to seven individuals, but can sometimes be found migrating in groups of 300.
Generally, they feed in high latitudes during summer and migrate to warmer waters in winter to breed and give birth. Their migrations are still being studied.
They can reach speeds of 46kph when chasing schools of fish.
Breeding in fin whales is strongly seasonal, with most births occurring in winter. Gestation is 11 to 12 months.
Calves are more than 7m long and are weaned at seven months.
Females produce calves every two or three years throughout their lives.
Fin whales are locally common. The population is estimated at 120,000. In the Antarctic, their numbers were depleted by hunting in the 20th century, particularly in the 1950s.