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Humpback whale

Megaptera novaeangliae


Large robust body 50-56' (16-17m) long and 90,000 lb (40,000kg) males slightly smaller than females. Backs are dark with white or mottled bellies. Very long flippers 15' often white with dark marks. Underside of their tail or fluke can range in color from totally black to totally white with endless variations of pattern in between... individuals can be identified by the patterns on the underside of their tail. They are members of the Balaenoptera family have baleen and filter small fish and krill rather than having teeth like Orcas or dolphins.


This particular group of whales inhabit the North Atlantic. Breeding in the West Indies between January and March (Silver Bank North of Dominican Republic is a favorite breeding ground) and feeding in the cold rich waters of the Gulf of Maine, Eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the North Sea.


This is a whale named Knuckles HWC#8292. She was first seen in 1995 and has returned with a couple of calves since then so they know she is female. I put these whale flukes up close together so you can see how different the ventral (underside) patterns are. It is like a finger print that allows us to identify and track individuals over time. This way we can generate life histories... some whales have been known since 1976! There are Grandmothers out there!

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Spotted by

Maine, USA

Spotted on Oct 13, 2008
Submitted on Mar 17, 2011


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