Minke Whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetartiodactyla
Suborder Mysticeti
Family Balaenopteridae
Genus Balaenoptera
Species acutorostrata

Minke whales are about 35 ft long  (10.6 m) and can weigh up to 10 tons (9,100 kg).

They can live up to 50 years.

Minke whales feed by side-lunging into schools of prey (small schooling fish) and plankton.

They are widely distributed through most tropical, temperate and polar regions.

Threats to Minke Whales
Whaling, habitat degradation, overfishing, entanglement, human disturbance (harassment, noise, vessel collisions, etc)

Current Population Trend Unknown

Conservation Status
Least Concern

The IUCN Red List tracks the conservation status of organisms around the world. Visit the Red List to learn more about the conservation status of Minke whales.

OCS Research Insights

Minkes are one of the whale species we record most often in the Santa Monica Bay, California, sometimes close to the shipping lane.

Learn more about OCS research

We’ve recorded them feeding close to the Los Angeles shoreline, alone or in small groups of 2-3 individuals. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed Minke whales being harassed by boats.

Report whale or dolphin harassment
Learn more about OCS research
Read the scientific paper

Minke Whale Facts

• Minke whales are the smallest baleen (filter-feeding) whales in North American waters.

• They’re named after a Norwegian whaling spotter named Meincke, who allegedly mistook a Minke for a blue whale.

• Minke whales make sounds that include clicks, grunts, pulse trains, ratchets, thumps – and even “boings”!


Protect whales and dolphins now and for future generations


Here's how you can help

Learn Safe Observation

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Report Injuries or Harassment

Know who to contact if you encounter marine animals who are injured, in distress, or those being harassed by humans or boats.

Support Marine Research

OCS conducts one of the longest-running investigations on wild dolphins and whales existing worldwide. Learn more about research projects that help ensure the protection of these animals for generations to come.

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whale and dolphin species drawings © Massimo Demma / ICRAM / Muzzio