Balaenoptera physalus

Scientific Name:-
Balaenoptera physalus

Common Name:-
Fin Whale

Malayalam Name:-
Sei Thimingalam


Classified as "Endangered” by the IUCN and listed in Appendix I of CITES and Appendix I and II of Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Listed in Schedule II of Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act.


It is the second largest animal after the blue whale, growing to 27.3 metres (89.5 ft) long and weighing nearly 74 tonnes. Fin whales are large, long and streamlined with silvery grey, dark grey or brownish black skin. They have a V-shaped head which is flat on top; a single ridge extends from the blowhole to the tip of the rostrum (upper jaw). The fin whale has a prominent, slightly falcate (curved) dorsal fin located far back on its body. Its flippers are small and tapered, and its fluke is wide, pointed at the tips, and notched in the center. The whale has a series of 56–100 pleats or grooves along the bottom of the body that run from the tip of the chin to the navel that allow the throat area to expand greatly during feeding. Fin whales are found most often alone, but groups of 3-7 individuals are common, and association of larger numbers or concentrations may occur in some areas at times. It is a catholic feeder, sometimes preying heavily on fish but mostly on crustaceans


Fin Whales were depleted worldwide by commercial whaling in the 20th century. Fin Whales are occasionally caught in fishing gear as a by-catch.


There have been observations of this species off Kerala coast, though stranding has not been reported.


It is found in all the world's major oceans and in waters ranging from the polar to the tropical. It is found in offshore waters and are rare in the tropics.


Balaena antipodarum Tomilin, 1957; Balaena antiquorum Fischer, 1829; Balaena boops Linnaeus, 1758; Balaena maximus borealis Knox, 1838; Balaena mysticetus major Kerr, 1792; Balaena physalis Kerr, 1792; Balaena quoyi Fischer, 1829; Balaena rostrata australis Desmoulins, 1822; Balaena sulcata Neill, 1811; Balaenoptera antarctica Gray, 1846; Balaenoptera aragous Farines & Carcasonne, 1829; Balaenoptera australis Gray, 1846; Balaenoptera blythii Anderson, 1879; Balaenoptera brasiliensis Gray, 1846; Balaenoptera gibbar Lacépède, 1804; Balaenoptera mediterraneensis Lesson, 1828; Balaenoptera musculus Van Beneden & Gervais, 1880; Balaenoptera patachonica Lahille, 1905; Balaenoptera patachonicus Burmeister, 1865; Balaenoptera patagonica Dabbene, 1902; Balaenoptera quoyii Lonnberg, 1906; Balaenoptera rorqual Lacépède, 1804; Balaenoptera sulcata arctica Schlegel, 1841; Balaenoptera swinhoii Gray, 1866; Balaenoptera tenuirostris Sweeting, 1840; Balaenoptera velifera Cope, 1869; Balaenoptera velifera copei Elliot, 1901; Balaenopteris guibusdam Tomilin, 1957; Benedenia knoxii Gray, 1864; Dubertus rhodinsulensis Tomilin, 1957; Physalis vulgaris Fleming, 1828; Physalus antarcticus Gray, 1850; Physalus australis Gray, 1850; Physalus brasiliensis Gray, 1850; Physalus dugundii Heddle, 1856; Physalus fasciatus Gray, 1850; Physalus patachonicus Burmeister, 1866; Physalus verus Billberg, 1828; Pterobalaena communis Van Beneden, 1857; Pterobalaena gigantea michrochira Barkos, 1862; Rorqualus musculus F. Cuvier, 1836; Sibbaldius tectirostris Cope, 1869; Sibbaldius tuberosus Cope, 1869; Swinhoia chinensis Gray, 1868.


De Silva, P. (1987). Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) recorded off Sri Lanka, India, from the Arabian Sea and Gulf, Gulf of Aden and from the Red Sea.
Jayasankar, P. and Anoop, B. 2010. Identification of Marine Mammals of India. Narendra Publishing House, Delhi.
Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. and Webber, M.A. 1993. FAO Species identification guide. Marine Mammals of the World: UNEP / FAO, Rome, 320 pp.
Jefferson, T. A., M. A. Webber and R. L. Pitman. (2008). Marine mammals of the world. Academic Press, Amsterdam.
Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. 2013. Balaenoptera physalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 September 2014.
Sathasivam, K. 2004.Marine Mammals of India. University Press, Hyderabad.
Vivekanandan, E. and Jeyabaskaran, R. 2012. Marine Mammal Species of India. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, 228pp.

Back to the search results.