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a family of marine mammals of the suborder Mystacoceti. The body length is from 6 to 33 m. Fourteen to 120 longitudinal furrows are present on the chest and throat. By expanding, the furrows increase the capacity of the mouth. The broad baleen plates, which reach a length of 1 m, have a coarse fringe. The dorsal fin is well developed and located near the tail. The females are larger than the males.

Whales of the family Balaenopteridae are widely distributed in the World Ocean. They migrate regularly: in the spring the whales travel to cold waters for feeding, and in the autumn they migrate to temperate and warm waters for reproduction. The age of sexual maturity is between four and six years. The gestation period is about one year; the life span is up to 50 years.

The family has two genera, Balaenoptera and Megaptera. The first includes the finback (B. physalus), the blue whale (B. musculus), Bryde’s whale (B. edeni), the sei (B. borealis), and the lesser rorqual (B. acutorostrata). Megaptera contains a single species, the humpback whale (M. nodosa).

Owing to the intensive commercial hunting of many species of Balaenopteridae, their numbers are sharply decreasing. Some species, including the blue whale and the humpback whale, are protected.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
References in periodicals archive ?
The geochronologically younger, and very diverse latest Miocene Isla Cedros local fauna of Baja California contains a great diversity of Cetacea, and these include at least two species of herpetocetine Cetotheriidae and six species of Balaenopteridae (Barnes, 1984, 1991, 1992a, b, 1993; Aranda-Manteca & Barnes, 1995; Gascon-Romero et al., 1993, 1997b), some of which are relatively small, others of which are moderate to larger in body size.
(1998) Total Distance Number of with Sighting Sightings Sightings (km) Frequency 1999 5 331.29 2.79 2000 11 766.64 2.65 Northeast Area 11 492.17 4.14 Southeast Area 5 605.75 1.52 Total Sampling Area 16 1097.94 2.69 TABLE 3 Sighting frequency given as percentage, associated to mean distances with positive observations covered in the field (42.23 kilometers) Number of Sighting Species--Family Sightings Frequency (%) Delphinus sp 3 13.16 Balaenoptera edeni 2 6.145 Delphinidae 1 4.38 Balaenopteridae 2 6.145 Tursiops truncatus 16 70.17 Total 24 100
Abstract: Nineteen species of cetaceans (families Balaenopteridae, Kogiidae, Physeteridae, Ziphiidae and Delphinidae) occur in the Costa Rican Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
About 30 cetacean species within the Delphinidae, Ziphiidae, Physeteridae, Kogiidae and Balaenopteridae inhabit or are expected to be found in the Pacific and Caribbean economical waters of Costa Rica (May-Collado in press), According to Gerrodette and Palacios (1996) Delphinus delphis, Stenella coeruleoalba, beaked whales (Ziphiidae), and Tursiops truncatus are the most abundant cetaceans in Costa Rican Pacific waters.
Delphinidae was the family most commonly observed (76% of all sightings), followed by Balaenopteridae (13%), Ziphiidae (3%), Physeteridae (2%), and Kogiidae (2%).
SubOrder Mysticeti Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals)
Mysticetes were represented only by three species members of the family Balaenopteridae that with the exception of Megaptera novaeangliae may inhabit primarily oceanic waters.