Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Minke whales are members of the baleen whale family, and they are also considered as the smallest out of all the “great whales,” also called rorquals.
See the fact file below for more information on the minke whales or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Minke Whale worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- There are two species of minke whales, common (or northern) minke whales and Antarctic (or southern) minke whales.
- The common minke whale is known as Balaenoptera acutorostrata, and the Antarctic minke whale as Balaenoptera bonaerensis.
- The common minke whale is further divided into subspecies. These subspecies are the North Atlantic minke whales, the North Pacific minke whales, and the dwarf minke whale.
- Minke whales are part of the rorquals, the largest group of baleen whales that include the humpback whales, the fin whales, and the blue whales.
- The classification of minke whales is Balaenoptera (genus), Balaenopteridae (family), Artiodactyla (order), Mamalia (class), Chordata (phylum), and Animalia (kingdom).
- Minke whales have a relatively small, dark, and sleek body that can reach lengths of up to about 35 feet.
- Minke whales can also weigh up to 20,000 pounds.
- Female minke whales are slightly larger than male minke whales.
- Minke whales have dorsal fins that are fairly tall and are shaped like a sickle. These fins are located about two-thirds down their back.
- The body of minke whales has a black or grayish/brownish color.
- Minke whales also have a pale letter V shaped stripe on the back behind their head and just above their flippers. They also have a white underside.
- Common minke whales, or the northern minke whales, are distinguished by their relatively small size and a well-defined white band located on the middle of their flippers.
- Dwarf minke whales, on the other hand, are significantly smaller in size. They grow up to lengths of about 26 feet and weigh up to 14,000 pounds.
- Antarctic minke whales, or the southern minke whales, have solid gray with a white leading edge pectoral flippers.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET
- Minke whales are usually seen individually or in small groups of two to three.
- Minke whales feed by side-lunging into schools of prey and by gulping large amounts of water.
- Minke whale feed on crustaceans, planktons, and small schooling fishes like anchovies, dogfish, capelin, coalfish, cods, eels, herring, mackerel, salmon, and saury. For the southern or Antarctic minke whales, their diet is mostly consisted of krill.
- Minke whales vocalize and create sounds. Some sounds that minke whales create include clicks, grunts, pulse trains, ratchets, thumps, and “boings.” The vocalizations vary depending on species and geographic areas.
- When diving, minke whales, unlike other rorquals, do not raise their flukes out of the water.
- Minke whales can dive for at least 15 minutes but they regularly submerge for about 6 to 12 minutes at a time.
- Minke whales like to live in temperate to boreal waters, but they can also be found in tropical and subtropical areas.
- Minke whales feed most often in cooler waters at higher latitudes.
- Minke whales migrate seasonally and they can travel long distances.
- The distribution of minke whales vary depending on their age, reproductive status, and sex.
- Commonly found in the polar regions and near the ice edge are older, mature, male minke whales. They are also often seen in small groups during summer feeding season.
- Mature female minke whales may also migrate into higher latitudes, but generally, they remain in coastal waters.
- Northern minke whales, or the common minke whales, have a widespread distribution in the Northern Hemisphere. They are found throughout the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- Southern minke whales, or the Antarctic minke whales, have the same distribution in the Southern Hemisphere.
LIFESPAN AND REPRODUCTION
- Minke whales, at around ages 3 to 8 years or about when they reach 23 feet in size, become sexually mature.
- Minke whales mate mostly during the winter.
- After 10 to 11 months of gestation, female minke whales give birth to a single calf which weighs about 700 to 1,000 pounds and is about
8 to 11.5 feet in length.
- A calf is weaned from nursing after 4 to 6 months.
- Female minke whales have a reproductive interval of about 14 months, but calving may occur every year.
- The average lifespan of minke whales is up to 50 years.
- Although currently, the population of minke whales is stable and has never been considered endangered, there are still threats to minke whales.
- First is whaling. Historically, whalers have been exploiting minke whales since the 1930s. Until now, especially in countries such as Greenland, Japan, and Norway, people still hunt minke whales for food and for research purposes.
- Minke whales often get entangled in fishing gears, driftnets, gillnets, and herring weirs.
- Accidental vessel strikes are also threats to minke whales; they can get injured or even get killed.
Minke Whale Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the minke whale across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Minke Whale worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the minke whales which are members of the baleen whale family, and they are also considered as the smallest out of all the “great whales,” also called rorquals.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Minke Whale Facts
- Small Whales
- Fill The Ocean
- The Cycle
- Connecting Words
- Guess The Word
- Use The Words
- Breaking News
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Minke Whale Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 12, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.