Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Minke Whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata


Fun Facts

    The minke whale is the smallest of the rorqual whales

    The life span of the minke whale is believed to be about 50 years




The minke whale is a type of baleen whale that lives in offshore waters. Minke whales occur in all oceans, though they are rarely observed in the tropics. The slender and streamlined body is counter-shaded-black to dark gray on top, white below. Males can reach approximately 26 to 31 feet (8 to 9 meters), while females average 27 to 33 feet (8 to 10 meters).

Minke whales feed on small schooling fish and krill. They will also eat copepods in certain areas. Breeding typically occurs in the summer months. Sexual maturity is reached at 7 or 8 years and the gestation period is 10 to 11 months. Females reproduce typically once every two years. Calves are 10 feet (3 meters) at birth.

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