Humpback Whale

Megaptera novaeangliae

The Humpback Whale is a well-known species of baleen whale, distributed throughout the oceans of the world. They are typically longer and heavier than the similar Gray Whales, and like the Gray Whales, they are endangered. They are omnivores, and they filter feed, like other baleen whales. They only feed in the summer in polar waters, and
then they migrate to warmer, tropical waters to mate and give birth during the winter.

Like the similar Gray Whale, they too have been whaled in the past, and were nearly brought to extinction. Measures have been taken to stop whaling, but they are still hunted in some parts of the world. Humans also harm them unintentionally because of noise pollution. Currently, there are less than 20,000 specimens left.

One of their most distinguishing characteristics is the song that they sing. Although females can make sounds also, males are the ones that utter the specie’s characteristic long songs. Whales from different areas appear to sing the same song, and whales from other regions sing different songs. These songs change over generations, and each evolution changes their songs further. Although it is believed that they sing to attract mates, recent studies seem to indicate that they use their songs for more general communication.

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