The Naming of Things: Sei Whale

Say, have you seen a Sei Whale? Pronounced “SAY” these large baleen whales get their common name from the Norwegian word for pollock (“seje”), a fish that appears off the coast of Norway at the same time of the year as the Sei Whale.

Photo by Mandy Houston

Their scientific name, Balaenoptera borealis, also has ties to the North.  As we’ve seen before here at The Naming of Thinigs, the genus Balaenoptera comes from the Latin “balaena” (whale) and the Greek “ptera” (wings/fins). The species name borealis is in reference to the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights that paint the sky in the coldest parts of the Northern hempisphere where the sei whale spends much of its life.

Photo by Azores Experiences

Now if anyone out there has a picture of a Sei Whale under the Northern Lights, THAT is something I’d love to see!

Read our Sei Whale stories here and don’t forget you can share your encounters of any whales, dolphin or porpoise species here.

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