Humpback Whale

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Related to Megaptera novaeangliae: Grampus griseus, Physeter macrocephalus

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.

REFERENCES

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

A. G. TOMILIN

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Spatial distribution, habitat utilization, and social interactions of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, off Hawaii, determined using acoustic and visual techniques.
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Many species, including sea otters (Enhydra lutris), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were hunted by the Makah tribe (Swan, 1868; Huelsbeck, 1988).
physalus), the humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), the northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), or the now-extinct North Atlantic population of the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus).
Three of these species, right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), occur in the study area seasonally, primarily in months other than summer months, and abundances have been estimated from studies of their primary summer ranges north of the study area (e.g.
acutorostrata; humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae; sei whales, B.
Behavioral responses of east Australian humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae to biopsy sampling.
(3)), and several baleen whale species (humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae: Goodyear, 1989; fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus: Giard et al.
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The whaling that was conducted from the 19th century on, however, appears to have been directed primarily at fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, and humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae (Goode, 1884:27; Clark, 1887:41; Allen, 1916:313; Mitchell and Reeves, 1983).