Balaenoptera physalus (Fin  whale)

finback, common rorqual, herring whale, true fin whale, finfish, gibbar, finner, razorback, common fin whale, common fin back [English]; vinwalvis [Afrikaans]; Schnabelwal, Finnwal, Finnfisch [German]; vraie baleine, rorqual commun [French]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Laurasiatheria > Ferungulata > Cetartiodactyla (even-toed ungulates and cetaceans) > Whippomorpha > Cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises) > Family: Balaenopteridae (rorquals)

These are large baleen whales of some 21 metres in length and weighing in at between 35 to 40 thousand kilograms. They have deep grooves in the throat, a dorsal fin situated towards the tail, and a sleek overall shape. Their bodies are of a dark grey and umber brown colour, that lightens towards the belly. They have unique asymmetrical colouring on their heads, which may be related to feeding habits. Their blow is a single thin column between 6 and 12 metres high.

Text by Derek Ohland


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