There’s a new fin whale subspecies in the North Pacific

  • The northern fin whale subspecies was previously believed to include populations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, but a recent genetic analysis of more than 150 fin whale samples from both ocean basins and the Southern Hemisphere showed that the two populations actually qualify as two separate subspecies.
  • By comparing DNA from fin whales in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic, researchers determined that the populations have been genetically distinct for hundreds of thousands of years.
  • Improving our understanding of fin whale taxonomy can have important implications for the conservation of the species, which is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Mongabay

Last updated on 16 January 2021

Type: 
Media Watch
Species group: 
Marine mammals