A fin whale can eat more than 1 t of food per day and feeds intensively in summer almost exclusively on krill and copepods, at depths up to 180 m and sometime at surface. The technique used is called lunge-feeding, that typically involves rolling on the right side, opening the mouth to 90° angle and filling the mouth with 70,000 l of water. After the whale’s jaws close, the water is squeezed out, and 10 kg of krill are finally engulfed.
Capable of swimming exceptionally fast, the normal cruising speed of a fin whale is 10 to 15 km/h and can reach 37 km/h for short bursts when feeding. It is frequently seen alone or in small groups of 2 to 7 individuals. Sometimes it associates with dolphins, pilot whales and in feeding aggregations with other whales.
Vocalizations include songs composed of single pulses, representing one of the loudest biological sounds in the ocean that can be heard from hundreds of kilometers away.
Lifespan and reproduction
A fin whale can live up to 90 years. Females reach sexual maturity at 7-8 years, male at 5-7 years. Calving happens every two years, giving birth to a single calf. Males are believed to compete over females for reproduction. In some regions out of the Mediterranean Sea, fin whales can sometimes mate with blue whales, generating hybrids.