The reliability of body condition indicators for the Antarctic minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis was examined. Samples were collected from the Antarctic Ocean south of 60°S and 70°E to 170°W in austral summer by the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA). As body condition indicators, blubber thicknesses, girths, LMD-indices (), d/r-ratios (blubber thickness/surface body radius), BW/BL3 (Body weight/body length3) and G/BL (Girth/Body length) were used. Blubber was thicker in the posterior than in the anterior of the body and thickest in the dorsal and ventral region near the fluke. The blubber in the mid part of the body was similar in thickness through ventral to dorsal region without just ahead of dorsal fin. The results showed that the medial lateral blubber thicknesses and d/r-ratios were highly correlated with total blubber mass (%sculp) and date, showing that these were simple and suitable body condition indicators for the Antarctic minke whale. In addition, the precise formulae for estimating the weight of the Antarctic minke whales (r2 > 0.85) were derived using body length and a girth.
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Vol. 31 • No. 1