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Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are medium size baleen whales.

Humpback Whale Classification:

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Megaptera
Species: Novaeangliae

Other Names: Big-winged New Englander,

Humpback Whale in Foreign Languages:

Gasoquati Daqua
Danish: Pukkelhval
Dutch: Bultrug
Finnish: Ryhavalas
German: Buckelwal
Greenlandic: Qipoqqaq
Italian: Megattera
Navajo: Loo'tsoh Bigha a Yilk'idigii
Polish: Humbak / Dlugopletwiec
Portuguese: Baleia-corcunda / Baleia-jubarte
Russian: Dlinnorukij Kit / Kit-gorbac / Gorbatyy Kit
Spanish: Yubarta / Ballena Jorobada / Megaptera / Gabarte / Xibarte
Swahili: Nyangumi-kibyongo

Description: Humpback whales are easily identified by their unique long pectoral fins, which can measure up to 15 feet in length. Humpback whales are dark grey, but individual whales have a variable amount of white on their pectoral fins and belly. The shading is distinctive and unique from whale to whale.

Size: Humpback females are larger than their male counterparts. Humpback whales measure 48 to 62.5 feet in length and weigh up to 40 tons.

Habitat: Humpback whales populate the polar and tropical waters. Humpback whales are most frequently found in the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific Oceans, less frequently they are found in the waters of the Bering Sea and the waters surrounding Antarctica.

Behavior: Humpback whales migrate seasonally from the tropics to the northern feeding grounds.

Diet: Humpback whales feed on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans, and various kinds of small fish. Humpback whales use baleen plates suspended in their mouth to strain the krill and small animals out of the water.

Communication: Humpback whales create complex songs, that change over time.

Did You Know?

Humpback whales can dive to depths of 500-700 feet and they can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes.

Gestation: Humpback whales carry their young for 11 to 11.5 months.

Birth: Humpback whales give birth to a single offspring at a time. Humpback whale calves are 13 to 16 feet in length.

Humpback Whale

Conservation Status: Not Endangered or Threatened

Calves: Humpback whale calves are weaned between the ages of 6-10 months of age.

Sexual Maturity: Female humpback whales sexually mature between the ages of 4-5. While male humpback whales sexually mature around the age of 7. Humpbacks are generally polygynous, males will compete for females. Females give birth every two years or more.

Life Span: A humpback whale's lifespan is estimated to be between 45–100 years.

Social Structure: Humpback whales have a loose social structure. Individual whales will live alon, or in small, transient groups that disband after a short period of time. Occassionally airs or small groups are observed that remain together for several months or even years.

Athleticism: Humpback whales are suprisingly acrobatic considering their large size. They will regularly breach and slap the water with their flippers and flukes.

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