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see whalewhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Balaenoptera physalus), also finback, a marine mammal of the family Balaenopteridae of the suborder Mystacoceti (whalebone, or baleen, whales). The body length is 19–20 m; males are 1 m shorter than females. Some individuals reach a length of 27.3 m. The body is dark-gray above and white below; the right side of the head is lighter than the left. The whalebone plates are gray-blue and are found in rows of about 360. There are 70 to 90 stripes on the belly. The rorqual is found from the arctic to the antarctic; in the USSR it occurs in the seas of the Far East and, very rarely, in the Barents and White seas. The whale enters areas with thinning ice. The young, which are born in moderately warm waters, are about 6–7 m long. Rorquals feed on planktonic crustaceans, schooling fishes, and cephalopod mollusks. They are commercially hunted, and their number is decreasing.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9). Moscow, 1951.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any of several whalebone whales of the genus Balaenoptera, esp B. physalus: family Balaenopteridae. They have a dorsal fin and a series of grooves along the throat and chest
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Sightings are grouped by detection function species pool (Table 2): (A) pantropical spotted dolphin, (B) species pool 1, (C) species pool 2, (D) species pool 3, (E) species pool 4, (F) species pool 5, (G) species pool 6, (H) unidentified rorqual, (I) unidentified dolphin, and (J) unidentified cetacean.
"You can have two organisms that are as completely different as a pelican and a rorqual whale are - you just have to look at them to immediately understand the differences - but, that said, they have these extraordinary similarities as well," study leader Daniel Field of Yale University told Live Science.
The rorqual fishery by steamers in the Gulf of Maine was intertwined with the menhaden fishery.
Unidentified delphinoids were pooled with all delphinids; unidentified small whales were pooled with Ziphius, Mesoplodon and Kogia spp.; unidentified rorquals were pooled with all rorqual species; and unidentified large whales were pooled with rorquals and sperm whales.
We recommend care when discerning Fin Whales from other rorquals in these waters, and that mariners exercise caution when transiting these waters given the documented presence of Fin Whales in the region.
Minke whales are part of the rorquals, a family which includes the humpback whale, the fin whale, the Bryde's whale, the sei whale and the blue whale.
Family Balaenopteridae: Only three species belonging to this family (commonly referred to as rorquals) have been reported in the study area, namely: the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) and the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) (Townsend, 1935; Aguayo et al., 1998a).
After this, several participating countries (England, Denmark, Norway, Japan, Canada, and the United States in the Northern Hemisphere and South Africa, England, Chile, Norway, and Argentina in the Southern Hemisphere) took full advantage of the previously unexploited stocks of large rorquals (Allison, 2012).
They give clear descriptions of physical characteristics and habitats and even provide a handy species checklist to record your loons, grebes, rorquals, terns and albatrosses.
Australia accused Japan on April 1 of planning to step up whaling activities by hunting humpback whales and common rorquals in addition to its current catches of smaller minke whales.
Tokyo rapidly became the focus of a furious row when it proposed lifting the ban on the sale of products based on rorquals from the Northern Hemisphere and Bryde's whales from the North Pacific, which are currently on the endangered species list.
The Norwegians catered to markets different from those the Americans entered (whale meat and cooking oils markets), pursued a new group of whales (the fast-swimming rorquals, whales that could rarely be taken by American methods), hunted a different region (the Antarctic), and employed different techniques.