The Humpback Whale

Common Name: The Humpback Whale

Type: Mammal

Family: Balaenopteridae

Range: The Humpback whales are available in a number of locations like Mediterranean and Great Barrier Reef. It is found in almost all around the world; these whales usually migrate up to 16000 miles (25,000 kilometers) each year. Humpbacks Whale feed only during summer, in polar waters, and migrates to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter. During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves.

Size: Humpback whales can get a length from 48 to 62.5 feet 52 feet (14.6 to 19 m). The females are slightly bigger than males. They have four-chambered heart.

Weight: They are weighing 30-50 tons. The humpback carries a unique body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins with a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal. They often breaching and slapping the water. The Males produce a multifaceted song.

Diet: Humpback whales are Omnivore like all other baleen whales. They are seasonal feeders and filter feed Krill, plankton, small fishes like mackerel, herring, and capelin from the water. They are gulpers (not skimmers); filter feeders that alternatively swim and gulp a mouthful of fish or plankton. An average-sized humpback whale can eat 2000-2500 kg of krill, plankton and small fish every day during the feeding season in cold waters. They eat two times in a day.

Average life span: The average lifespan of Humpback whales have a life expectancy of 45-50 years.

Habitat: Humpback whales reside at the surface of the ocean, both in the Open Ocean and shallow coastline waters. They prefer shallow waters, when they are not migrating. They migrate from warm tropical waters where they breed and calve to arctic waters where they eat.
There are 3 different populations of humpback Whales, those living in the North Atlantic Ocean, those in the North Pacific Ocean, and those roaming the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.

Breeding/Reproduction: Humpback whale breeding occurs mostly in the winter to early spring while near the surface and in warm, tropical waters. The gestation period is about 11-12 months and the calf is born tail first (this is normal for cetaceans) and near the surface in warm shallow waters. The newborn automatically swims to the surface within 10 seconds for its first breath; helped by its mother through her flippers. The baby whale can swim within 30 minutes of its birth. The calf is about 14 feet long and weighs about 2.3 tons. Twins are very rare. The baby is nurtured with its mother’s milk and is weaned in about 11 months. The mother and calf may stay together for a year or longer. Calves drink about 50 kg of milk every day. They reach puberty at the age of 4-7 years, and maturity after 15 years. A calf is born to a female every 1-3 years.

The humpback whale, having the scientific name Megaptera novaeangliae is a species of baleen whale. The adult whales are 12 to 16 meters in length and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms that is equal to79000 lb. The humpback has a different body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobby head. It is an energetic animal. It breaches and slaps in the water very often. They are seen in the North Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean regions. In every winter, humpback whales travel from the Antarctic to the northern tropics to find out the warm water to grow up their young. They travel through the water of Costa Rica.Many people visit to Costa Rica during the vacation to see the humpback whale.

The humpback whale can easily be identified by its solid body with an obvious hump and black dorsal coloring. The head and lower jaw are roofed with knobs called tubercles. They are actually hair follicles, and are special characteristic of the species. The fluked tail, which it lifts above the water level in some diving sequences, has wavy trailing edges. The tail fin is of black and white color and large in size. The pectoral fins are of unique patterns, which make individual whales identifiable. Several hypotheses explain the humpback’s pectoral fins.

The Humpback Whales have two hundred seventy to four hundred darkly colored baleen plates on both side of the mouth. The plates measure from approximately 18 inches (46 cm) in the front to approximately 3 feet (0.91 m) long in the backside, behind the hinge. Ventral grooves run from the lower jaw to the umbilicus. It is about halfway along the bottom of the whale. These grooves are less frequent (usually 16–20) and as a result more prominent than in other rorquals. Male whales produce a complex noise, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for many hours at a time. The purpose of the noise is not yet clear, but it appears to have a role in mating.

The humpback whales usually migrate up to 25,000 kilometers (16,000 mi) each year, found in oceans and seas around the world. They feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or sub-tropical waters for breeding. They give birth in the winter. The humpbacks fast in the winter and live off their fat reserves. The species’ diet consists of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse range of feeding methods. The bubble net feeding technique is one of them.

Like other large whales, the Humpback Whale was and is also a common target for the whaling business. Because of over-hunting, the population of humpback whales fell by an estimated 90% before a whaling moratorium was introduced in 1966. Stocks have since partially recovered; however, embarrassment in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise contamination also remain concern. There are at least 80,000 humpback whales all over the world. This species has to be saved to save the environment equilibrium. Different steps have already been taken by the relevant authority.

Comments are closed.