Humpback Whale

Creature Feature – Humpback Whale

This week is the letter ‘H’, and today’s featured creature is the Humpback Whale.

A baleen whale (filter feeder) known for their elaborate songs and long migrations, humpback whales are one of the most-watched and well-studied species of whale.

Creature Feature Friday - Humpback Whale

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Balaenopteridae

Genus: Megaptera

Humpback Whale Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach up to 18m in length and can weigh 40,000kg!

? Distribution: This species can be found in all the world’s major oceans. They undertake long migrations between polar feeding grounds in summer and tropical or subtropical breeding grounds in winter

? Diet: Their diet comprises of shrimp-like crustaceans called krill, small fish, and plankton, which the humpback whale strains out of the water with its baleen (which is made from keratin)

? Behaviour: Known for their charismatic displays, humpbacks undertake breaching (leaping clear of the water) and flipper and tail slapping and are responsible for some of the most complex songs in the animal kingdom

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. Many populations were heavily hunted through the 1960’s. Since becoming protected worldwide from commercial whaling many populations have increased, however several still remain vulnerable. Top threats include boat strikes and harassment, entanglement in fishing gear, and climate change