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IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

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Biology

Fin whales tend to occur in pairs or in groups known as pods that usually contain around six or seven individuals; although larger groups have been observed (5) (7). This species spends spring and early summer in cold feeding grounds at high latitudes, migrating to more southerly areas for winter and the breeding season (5). Northern and southern populations never meet because the seasonal patterns are reversed in the two hemispheres, and so they migrate to the equator at different times of year (5). Mating takes place in winter, and as gestation takes about 11 months, births occur in the winter breeding grounds where conception took place (5). A single calf is produced, which is suckled for six to seven months; when weaned, calves travel with their mother to the feeding grounds (5). Females produce calves every couple of years after reaching sexual maturity at three to twelve years of age. Full maturity is usually attained at 25 to 30 years of age (5). Fin whales feed by filtering planktonic crustaceans, fish and squid through their baleen plates. Individuals can dive to depths of 230 metres and can stay submerged for about 15 minutes (7) (8). The blow of a fin whale reaches six metres in height and is a slim cone shape (7).

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