Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Fin Whale

Balaenoptera physalus


Fun Facts

    The Fin whale is the second largest animal after the blue whale

    Fin whales are also called the finback whale, razorback, or common rorqual




The Fin whale is a type of baleen whale that lives in offshore waters.  Fin whales occur in all the world's oceans ranging from the polar to the tropical seas. The body is long and slender with a brownish-gray color on the dorsal surface and a white ventral surface. The left side of the head is dark gray, while the right side has a complex pattern of contrasting light and dark markings. The unique right lower jaw is white or light gray and thus is called the "right mandible patch." Fin whales can reach up to 89.5 feet (27.3 meters) long.

Fin whales feed on small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including copepods and krill. Mating occurs in temperate seas during the winter, followed by an eleven month to one year gestation period. Females reproduce every 2 to 3 years. Females reach sexual maturity at between 6 and 12 years of age.

To learn more about fin whales and their relatives visit the Whales & Dolphins Room at the Aquarium.