Humpback Whales
  • Wednesday, 05 March 2014
  • Jeanette

humpback-79854 640"Humpback” refers to the habit of raising and bending its back in preparation for the dive, accentuating the pronounced hump in front of the dorsal fin.

The humpback whale is a baleen whale and a rorqual whale with a rounded body narrowing to a slender tail. The bulky head and jaws have numerous knobs that  contain hair follicles and provide sites for barnacles and whale lice.

 

Images - Pixabay - http://pixabay.com

humpback-79855 1280Humpback  whales are easily distinguished  by their remarkably long flippers up to as much as a third of its total body length.

The upper  body is black but the  flippers, ventral groove area, flanks and underside of the flukes are white.

The distinctive with patches  on the  underside of the flukes (tail) are unique to each individual whale, like a fingerprint. The blow is a broad, bushy balloon of spray

Humpback whales have  small dorsal fin is raised on a platform of blubber.

The upper  body is black but the  flippers, ventral groove area, flanks and underside of the flukes are white. The distinctive with patches  on the  underside of the flukes (tail) are unique to each individual whale, like a fingerprint. The blow is a broad, bushy balloon of spray. Humpback whales have  small dorsal fin is raised on a platform of blubber.

When Humpback Whales breach, they are hard to miss!

Humpback-breachHumpback whales divide their lives between the cool, rich waters where they feed and the warmer, clear tropics where they breed.

They weigh up to 40 tonnes and grow up to 15 meters, larger than the average school bus!

Their flippers  grow to 5 meters long

.... but despite their staggering size, most of their lives remain a mystery. We know very little about their rowdy courtship competitions ..or the gentle ways they nurse their young.

whale tailFLUKES

Humpback Whales dive deep and they dive long! When they dive, they raise their trademark flukes.
Each fluke is unique, a distinct pattern of colours and scars, they are like fingerprints…

the whale’s personal  ID!

FEEDING:
When the calve is several months old the Humpbacks will start leaving, the mother daily nursing the calve with up to 600liters of milk.  In all this time she had nothing to eat and has lost almost a third of her body weight. Now she must feed and this means a journey of thousands of kilometers in an ocean full of danger.
After months of barely any food , the whales have a lot of catching op to do and one item on the menu is a tiny crustacean ,only 5mm long, called KRILL. The trick is catching a lot of them, and that is what Humpbacks are built to do.
A Humpback mouth can be 5 meters across, but its oesophagus is no bigger than a basketball.
It’s pleated throat bulges as the lower jaw dislocates, food stays in while the tongue pushes tonnes of waters out, the krill is then filtered through the hundreds of sieve like plates called, baleen.

Source

Story and Information:  Linda Chivell

Images - Pixabay - http://pixabay.com

Info / Images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpback_whale

Video Clip: fasttrax Films

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