Minke Whale
Minke whale or lesser rorqual, is a name given to two species of marine mammal
Marine mammal
Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of...

 belonging to a clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 within the suborder of baleen whale
Baleen whale
The Baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form the Mysticeti, one of two suborders of the Cetacea . Baleen whales are characterized by having baleen plates for filtering food from water, rather than having teeth. This distinguishes them from the other suborder of cetaceans,...

s. The minke whale was given its official designation by Lacepède
Lacepede can refer to:* Bernard Germain Étienne de la Ville, Comte de Lacépède , French naturalist and politician.* Jean de La Ceppède , French poet.* Rue Lacépède, a street in Paris...

 in 1804, who described a dwarf form of Balænoptera acuto-rostrata. The name is a partial translation of Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 minkehval, possibly after a Norwegian
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 whaler named Meincke, who mistook a northern minke whale for a blue whale.
Most modern classifications split the minke whale into two species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

  • Common minke whale
    Common Minke Whale
    The common minke whale or northern minke whale, , is a species of minke whale within the suborder of baleen whales.-Taxonomy:...

     or northern minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and
  • Antarctic minke whale
    Antarctic Minke Whale
    The Antarctic minke whale or southern minke whale , is a species of minke whale within the suborder of baleen whales.-Taxonomy:...

     or southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).

Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 further categorize the common minke whale into two or three subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

; the North Atlantic minke whale, the North Pacific minke whale and dwarf minke whale.