Minke Whale

MINKE WHALE

There have been regular sightings of minke whales in the Clyde over summer 2015. It has been suggested that there has been a general increase in minke whale numbers on west coast of Scotland with younger animals coming to the Clyde to look for food during autumn months.


There have been over 20 minke whale sighting in the Clyde in 2015. Most of these have been since August and mostly smaller animals. Unfortunatley a female minke whale was recently found floating then washed up on Inverkip beach.

BBC article on minke whale boom
BBC article suggesting there been a explosion in mike whale numbers around Scotland. Image © Kerry Froud / HWDT

Desription 

The minke whale is the second smallest baleen whale with males reaching an average 6.9 metres and females upto 8 metres long. Normally they weight about 4-5 tons but have been rocorded upto 10 tons. There body is usually black or dark-gray above and white underneath. Most of the length of the back, including dorsal fin and blowholes, appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe.

Habitat & Distribution

Minke whales have been split into two general distributions. The commmon or northern minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata which we get in Scottish waters and the Antartic or Southern minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis.

Behaviour  

The whale breathes three to five times at short intervals before ‘deep-diving’ for two to 20 minutes. Deep dives are preceded by a pronounced arching of the back. The maximum swimming speed of minkes has been estimated at 24 mph. Minke whales typically live for 30–50 years; in some cases they may live for up to 60 years.

Food & Foraging 

Minke whales have between 240 and 360 baleen plates on each side of their mouths and take a range of palnktonic prey including small fish and squid.

Status

The IUCN Red List labels the common minke whale as Least Concern. The Antarctic minke whale is listed as Data Deficient.