Humpback Whale

 


 

Color - black; belly and lower jaw white; flippers white with dark blotches

 

Length - 12 to 15 meters

 

Shape - top of head with hump and many small bumps; flippers long and with knobs on front edges; flukes on tail with scalloped edges; small dorsal fin 2/3 of way back on body

 

Behavior - Humpback whales often live alone.They may spout water high (up to 6 meters). 



WHALE SONGS

Complex whales songs can be heard for miles under the water. The humpback's song can last for 30 minutes. Baleen whales sing low-frequency songs; toothed whales emit whistles and clicks that they use for echolocation The songs are thought to be used in attracting mates, to keep track of offspring, and for the toothed whales, to locate prey.




FEEDING

Humpback whales feed on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans, and various kinds of small fish. Each whale eats up to 1 and 1/2 tons (1,361 kg) of food a day.They may swim in a circle and blow a curtain of bubbles around zooplankton to trap them in a small volume of water, then swim open-mouthed through the trapped animals, scooping them in (may brake the surface at the end of this feeding behaviour).

 

As a baleen whale, it has a series of 270-400 fringed overlapping plates hanging from each side of the upper jaw, where teeth might otherwise be located. During feeding, large volumes of water and food can be taken into the mouth because the pleated grooves in the throat expand. As the mouth closes water is expelled through the baleen plates, which trap the food on the inside near the tongue to be swallowed.

 

HABITAT AND RANGE

Humpback whales live at the surface of the ocean, both in the open ocean and shallow coastline waters. When not migrating, they prefer shallow waters. They migrate from warm tropical waters where they breed and calve to arctic waters where they eat.

There are 3 separate populations of humpbacks, those living in the North Pacific Ocean, those in the North Atlantic Ocean, and those roving the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.

LIFE SPAN

Humpback whales have a life expectancy of 45-50 years.

POPULATION COUNT

Humpback whales are an endangered species. It was estimated that there were over 10,000-15,000 humpback whales world-wide before commercial whaling (which is hunting and killing them to make money) . Now scientists estimate there are only 1,000 to 1,200 word-wide. No other reasons are known to have contributed to the population decline.