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WHALE FACTS

- Animals · Zoology · Whales · Ecology · Wildlife · Biology · New England · United States of America · US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration · Ecuador · Colombia · Monterey · Arctic · Wikipedia · Monterey Bay Aquarium

HUMP­BACK WHALES

Me­gaptera no­vaean­gliae (big-winged New Eng­lan­ders), or hump­backs, are about the size of a school bus and can reach up to 19 me­tres in length and weigh up to 48,100 ki­los.

These fil­ter-feed­ing, tooth­less whales are rec­og­niz­able be­cause of the dis­tinc­tive knobs or tu­ber­cles on their heads and by their spec­tac­u­lar breach­ing dis­plays.

Each has unique mark­ings on their un­der­bel­lies.

The males are also known for their haunt­ing and melodic vo­cal­iza­tions that can go on for hours and be heard up to 30 kilo­me­tres away.

Fe­males don’t sing, which has led re­searchers at the U.S. Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion to con­clude that the males’ singing is done to at­tract po­ten­tial mates.

Antarc­tic hump­backs fol­low strict mi­gra­tory routes and travel up to 26,000 kilo­me­tres each year, mov­ing to the trop­i­cal wa­ters off the west coast of Ecuador and Colom­bia to mate and breed dur­ing the win­ter, re­turn­ing to feed in the sum­mer.

In the past 100 years, over two bil­lion baleen whales were killed in­clud­ing over 250,000 hump­backs. Hunted to the brink of ex­tinc­tion, Antarc­tic hump­backs are a suc­cess story and are be­lieved to have re­bounded close to pre-whal­ing pop­u­la­tion lev­els. Sources: Mon­terey Bay Aquar­ium, Live Science, Dr. Ari Fried­laen­der

MINKE WHALES

There are two kinds — the Antarc­tic or south­ern minke and the com­mon or north­ern minke. Yet, on at least one oc­ca­sion, an Antarc­tic minke has been con­firmed as hav­ing mi­grated to the Arc­tic.

Minkes are among the small­est of the baleen or fil­ter-feed­ing whales, sec­ond only to pygmy right whale. They av­er­age “only” 11 me­tres in length and weigh around 5 tonnes.

Minkes are fast, swim­ming up to 30 km/h.

In the Antarc­tic, they tend to stay amid the sea ice, mak­ing them hard to track. Sources: Wikipedia, WildWhales.org, IUCN, WhaleFacts.org

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