fin whale is long, sleek, and streamlined, with a
V-shaped head which is flat on top. A single ridge
extends from the blowhole to the tip of the rostrum
(upper jaw). There is a series of 56-100 pleats or
grooves on the underside of its body extending from
under the lower jaw to the navel.
The fin whale is one of the rorquals, a family that
includes the humpback whale, blue whale, Bryde's whale,
sei whale, and minke whale. The fin, or finback whale
is second only to the blue whale in size and weight.
Among the fastest of the great whales, it is capable
of bursts of speed of up to 23 mph (37 km/hr) leading
to its description as the "greyhound of the sea."
Its most unusual characteristic is the asymmetrical
coloring of the lower jaw, which is white or creamy
yellow on the right side and mottled black on the
left side. Fin whales are found in all oceans of the
world, though they seem to prefer temperate, arctic,
and antarctic waters to tropical sea.