It comprises 9 species and the animals belonging to the Balaenopteridae family are also called
- Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)
- Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
- Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei)
- Common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
- Eden's whale (Balaenoptera edeni)
- Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
- Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
- Omura's whale (Balaenoptera omurai)
- Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)
All Balaenopterids are streamlined, which makes them fast swimmers.
The Humpback whale
is a bit of an
exception, as it a slower swimmer than the other members of the family and it is more robust.
Rather than being arched as in Balaenids, the upper jaw is flat.
The baleen plates are relatively short and not as finely fringed as in Balaenidae.
Balaenopterids present numerous throat grooves, which expand like an accordion and allow an even larger amount
of water to flow into the mouth.
Furthemore, expansion of throat grooves creates a depression (lower pressure) in the the oral cavity that eases
All family members have a dorsal fin which, in proportion to body size, turns out to be smallest
in the biggest of all animals: the Blue whale.
The cervical vertebrae are unfused.