Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia
Also known as
Finback, Finner, Common Rorqual, Herring Whale
Global, except Arctic Ocean
Coastal and offshore waters
Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales); Family Balaenopteridae (rorqual whales)
ShareFacebook Twitter Pinterest Google+
Fin whales are the second largest animals on Earth, only the blue whale is larger. Despite their massive size, fin whales have a slender and streamlined body that helps them to reach speeds up to 40 km/hr, making them one of the fastest swimmers of all the whales and earning their nickname of the “greyhounds of the sea”. Like all baleen whales, their diet consists of some of the tiniest animals in the sea, including krill, copepods, and small schooling fish. They expand the 60 grooves along their throats to help them engulf massive amounts of water. Unable to swallow saltwater, they filter out food using their baleen plates like a strainer. Interestingly, baleen is made of keratin, like our hair and fingernails.