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Whales: Humpback Whales

© written by Tasha Guenther

Humpbacks swimming

"Humpback whale underwater shot"; used with permission
under Public Domain

Humpback whales or Megaptera novaeangliae are part of the order Mysticeti. Other whales (baleen whales) part of this order are Blue, Gray, and Right. The Humpback whale is dark gray or black (and is commonly mistaken as or for the Gray whale). However, most characteristically, the Humpback whale has a white, rugged stomach pattern.

Another strong characteristic of the Humpback is its large flippers (side-fins). These fins measure up to an extensive 5 meters in length and allow the Humpback to breach above water and descend under water quickly.

Humpbacks can grow up to 14 meters long and 130,000 pounds in weight! As well, they can live up to 95 years old.

The Humpback whale is most well-known for its beautiful singing voice. However, it is only the male Humpbacks that have these talented vocal behaviours (sorry, ladies). Like the Gray whale, they are extremely playful - breaching, spyhopping, fluking, etc. are common occurences in a Humpback's day-to-day activities.