Humpback Whale
Megaptera novaeangliae


Classification
Scientific Name: Megaptera novaeangliae

Other Names: Hunchback Whale, Bunch, Hump Whale

Suborder: Mysticeti

Family: Balaenoptereridae

Description
The Humpback Whale has a large, stocky body with a slender, flattened head covered in characteristic small, wart-like, bony projections called tubercles. The broad throat pleats and double blowholes are easily seen and the long, wing-like, nobbley flippers and low humplike fin make the species easily identifiable. Its skin is usually a dark grey or black colour with white patches on the underside of its body. Individuals are often identified by the unique white patches on the undersides of the flukes. Humpbacks are known for remarkable surface displays, inquisitive behaviour and complex mating songs.

Maximum Length
Male: 10 - 17 m
Female: 11 - 18m
Calf: 4 - 4.6m

Maximum Weight
Adult: 40 tons
Calf: 1 -2 tons

Humpback Whale Ecology

Range: From tropical to temparate oceans. Migrations occur annually from breeding to feeding grounds and back again.

Usual group size: just mother and calf, sometimes groups of  12-15, often larger groups in feeding areas

Main Diet: Small fish and krill

Local population: Unknown.

Global range of the Humpback Whale

The dark blue areas indicate where Humpback Whales are likely to be found

Conservation Information

Protection and Conservation Status

IUCN Conservation Status: 
Humpback Whales are listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN red list.

SPAW Protocol:  Humpback Whales are cetaceans, which are listed under Annex II of the SPAW protocol. As such they require total protection under article 11 of this protocol which prohibits the "taking, possession, killing and commercial trade of the species, their parts or products". The SPAW protocol was created to help with the implementation and promotion of the Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Annexes of the SPAW protocol can be found here.

Local Laws: Cetaceans are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act of Trinidad and Tobago which offers protection to all species not listed under the second or third schedules of this act.     

Reports of Humpback Whales in Trinidad and Tobago
This is currently being researched and written. It will appear here shortly.


 

References
The above information was obtained from the following sources:

  • A Princeton Field Guide: Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett (2006)
  • Smithsonian Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine and illustrated by Martin Camm (2002)
  • The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society's Species Guide at http://www2.wdcs.org/species/index.php
  • The IUCN Redlist at http://www.iucnredlist.org
  • The SPAW protocol Annexes with links available at http://www.car-spaw-rac.org/?Annexes-of-the-SPAW-Protocol,83

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the following people for the use of the art work and photographs:

  • Al√ęsha Naranjit (Illustration of Humpback Whale)
 
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