Humpback Whales - Megaptera novaeangliae
The magnificent Humpback whale is a favorite animal for whale watching tours and is renowned for its impressive leaping displays and for the mysterious 'singing' of solitary males. Humpbacks can grow to over 45 feet in length and weigh over 30 tons. The robust body is blue-black in color, with pale or white undersides. The flippers may also be white and are the largest appendage of any animal; reaching up to 15 feet in length. On the underside of the mouth are 12 to 36 throat grooves, which can expand when filtering water during feeding. Humpback whales have characteristically knobbly heads, covered in many raised lumps ('tubercles') and barnacles.
There are two blowholes on the back and the spout of water can appear very bushy. The spreading tail flukes have a distinct indentation in the middle; as the whale undertakes a deep dive it usually arches its back (hence the common name) so that the tail flukes are raised above the water and clearly visible. The pattern on the underside of the flukes is unique and can be used to photo-identify and track individuals.
Visit the Killer Whale and Blue Whale pages to see photos of these other great whales as well.
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