Humpback Whale

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Related to Megaptera: Balaenopteridae

Humpback Whale


(Megaptera nodosa), a mammal of the family Balaenopteridae. Measuring 11–16 m long, it weighs 25–40 tons, of which 4–6 tons is fat. The humpback whale is characterized by a short, thickset body and long (up to one-third the length of the body) pectoral fins with a knobby forward edge. On the head and lower jaw there are up to 50 rounded bosses measuring up to 9 cm in diameter; the dorsal fin is small and fat. On each side of the mouth there are 270–400 dark plates of whalebone. The abdomen has up to 36 lengthwise grooves or pleats. The body coloration varies: it is black on top and black, mottled, or white below. The humpback whale is almost completely covered with barnacles and whale lice.

The humpback whale is found from the arctic to the antarctic; in the USSR it is distributed in the seas of the Far East. In the southern hemisphere there are six and in the northern hemisphere, four, populations (“herds”) of humpback whales. They winter, mate, and reproduce in warm waters, often close to shore, and put on fat in cold and temperate waters. The gestation period lasts approximately one year. The young are 4–4.5 m long at birth and are nursed by the mother for half a year. Because of decreasing numbers, the commercial use of humpback whales has been prohibited since 1963.


Tomilin. A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow. 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)
Tomilin. A. G. Kitoobraznye fauny morei SSSR. Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
Dynamics of two populations of the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski).
Commercial whaling, especially for gray whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California shore stations in the 19th century (1854-1899)," by Randall R.
47 in the Appendix of Reeves and Smith, 2006) was described as "American-style shore" whaling on the west coast of the United States that began in 1854 and targeted primarily gray whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and humpback whales, Megaptera novae-angliae.
The distibution of the humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine in relation to densities of the sand eel Ammodytes americanus.
In a separate paper in this issue, Reeves and Smith (2010) reviewed and reanalyzed the history of commercial shore-based whaling for gray whales and humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, along the coast of California in an initial attempt to address Wade's (2002) "dramatic assumption" that the historic commercial catch has been substantially underestimated.
Populations of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, and blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, around South Georgia crashed around the time of World War 1, and further exploitation occurred in other regions into the 1930's.
Most of the animals had been either humpbacks, Megaptera novaeangliae, or blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, two species that were officially considered "protected" under the international regulations that governed commercial whaling.
Reproduction and recruitment of individually identified humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, observed in Massachusetts Bay, 1979-85.
Species Reported Actual Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus 3,651 3,642 Pygmy blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus 10 8,439 brevicauda Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus 52,931 41,184 Sei whale, Balaenoptera borealis 33,001 50,034 Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae 2,710 48,477 Bryde's whale, Balaenoptera edeni 19 1,418 Minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis 17,079 14,002 Southern right whale, Eubalaena australis 4 3,212 Sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus 74,834 89,493 Other species 1,539 1,745 Total 185,778 261,646 Appendix III Soviet catches of large whales in the North Pacific, 1961-1979 PHILLIP J.
These observations contain the date and geographical position of the vessel, often the wind's direction and velocity, the visibility, ice coverage, and usually the fauna encountered (for example, bowhead, gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus; right whale (4), Eubalaena glacialis; humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae; walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, etc.