By: Dagmar Fertl
Edited by: Poul Vendel
The fin whale is also ocassionly called the finback or razorback whale. The
word physaluscomes is from the Greek word physalos for "rorqual
whale" or "kind of toad that puffs itself up".
The fin whale is the second biggest whale. It is a big, streamlined whale, with a head that is v-shaped in
profile, that appears slightly tapered downward from the blowhole to the tip of
the head. The dorsal fin is taller and more falcate (curved), and set farther
forward on the tail stock than the blue whale's. The most distinctive feature of
a fin whale is its coloration. The body is dark gray on the back with a lighter
belly. The head color is asymmetrical in that the left lower jaw is dark, while
the lower right jaw is mostly white. There are also some light gray v-shaped
"chevrons" on the back behind the head.
At birth, fins whales differ between 6 - 6.5 m while as adults, they can reach
lengths of 27m in the Southern Hemisphere. These animals can have a weight of 75 tons.
The location in Africa:
Fin whales can be seen on the majority of the African coastlines. They can be
seen near the shoreline, where deep water approaches the coast.
Fin whales lunge feed on small invertebrates, schooling fishes, and squid (it
has been suggested that the asymmetrical jaw coloration might assist with
foraging). This species is slightly more social than other rorquals, being spotted in groups of 2-7 at times. They are
said to be one
of the fastest of the big whales, reaching speeds of 32 km/hr.
When blue whale stocks became depleted, whalers switched to taking fin
whales. With the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling, no commercial
catches of fin whales should be made by IWC Parties.