FIN WHALE (Balaenoptera physalus)
The fin whale is a large baleen whale, second in size only to the blue whale. Fin whales have a small curved dorsal fin set about two-thirds of the way back along the body. They are dark grey to brownish black in colour along the top of the body, while the throat, belly and undersides of the flippers and tail flukes are white. The head is asymmetrically pigmented, with the white colouration extending up over the right lower jaw and inside the mouth cavity. The left side of the jaw is quite dark in contrast. It is not known why fin whales are coloured in this way, though there is some speculation that it may have something to do with their feeding strategy.
The minke whale is the smallest of the balaenopterids, or rorquals. Itattains a length of 8-9 m and a weight of about 8 tonnes in the North Atlantic. As with all balaenopterids, the females are somewhat larger than the males. Minke whales are black or dark grey dorsally and white on the ventral side. A transverse white band is charachteristic for the species in the Northern Hemisphere. With a worldwide distribution, it is the most common of the rorquals.
The beluga (Norwegian: hvithval; Greenlandic: Qilalugaq qaqortaq; Faroese: Hvítfiskur; Icelandic: Mjaldur) or white whale, is a medium-sized toothed whale that belongs to the family Monodontidae. The only other member of this family is the narwhal. The English name “beluga” comes from the Russian word belukha, which means “white”. Beluga whales have stout bodies, flexible necks and a disproportionately small head with a well defined beak and a prominent forehead bulge or "melon". They have short but broad paddle-shaped flippers, no dorsal fin, a narrow ridged back and a broad tail fluke with a deeply notched centre. The name “delphinapterus”, meaning “dolphin-without-a-wing” reflects the absence of a dorsal fin. Adult beluga whales grow to lengths of 3-5 m, and can weigh up to 1,500 kg. Males grow slightly larger than females. Newborns are brown or slate-grey in colour and average 1.6 m in length and 78 kg in weight. They become bluish-grey as they mature, then progressively lighten in colour, fading to white after 6 years of age. Most females mature sexually while still light grey, while males become white before maturing. Older males have a marked upward curve at the tip of their flippers.
|Beluga - White whale|
The long-finned pilot whale is a medium-sized toothed whale that is found in the North Atlantic and in mid-latitudes throughout the northern and southern hemisphere. Males are larger than females, reaching a length of 6.3 m and a weight of 2.5 tonnes, compared to 5.5 m and 1.5 tonnes for females (Bloch et al. 1993b). They are dark brown to black in colour, with a light anchor-shaped pattern on the belly, and on some a whitish stripe extending towards the tail along the back and sometimes also behind dorsal fin. The pilot whale is a very social species, and is invariably found in groups of 10’s to 100's of animals.
RINGED SEAL (Phoca hispida)
The ringed seal is the smallest of all living seal species, with males reaching a length of 1.5 m and a weight of 95 kg, and females 1.4 m and 80 kg (Bonner 1994). The ringed seal has a north circumpolar distribution. It is the most ice-adapted of seals, and is known to occur throughout the Arctic Ocean, including the north pole (Reeves 1998). The name of the ringed seal refers to the light-coloured rings on the dark grey pelt that are visible on adult animals.
The walrus is one of the largest members of the Pinnipeds (the group which contains all types of seals and walrus), and is the largest member of this group to live in the Arctic. Two distinct subspecies are recognised: Atlantic and Pacific walrus. The Atlantic walrus is the slightly smaller of the two, with males reaching weights around of 1200 to 1500 kg and lengths of close to 3 m. Females are smaller than males, weighing up to around 600 - 700 kg and reaching lengths of 2.5 m (Born et al. 1995). A male Pacific walrus can weigh up to 1700 kg and be nearly 4 m long.