Category

Humpback Whale

Photo of a Humpback Whale Peduncle Throw

Hawaii, Humpback Whale, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Another example of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) peforming a peduncle throw. In this case, rather than flicking the fluke sideways, the whale has lifted its fluke and peduncle vertically, slinging water in all directions. Notice the rake marks on the underside of the whales fluke, which are almost certainly caused by attacks by orca (killer whales).

North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw.
Image ID: 00443
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

This photograph was taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

Photo of a Humpback Whale Tail Throw

Hawaii, Humpback Whale, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Here we see a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) peforming a tail throw, also known as a peduncle throw or tail lob. While at the surface, the whale pivots around its long pectoral fins, suddenly flicking its powerful fluke and peducle out of the water while dipping its rostrum. This behaviour typically occurs among groups of surface active humpback whales in which males are socializing and (presumably) competing for access to a female in their midst. Often the female whale is the one performing tail throws, but it is seen in primary and challenging escorts as well.

Humpback whale performing a peduncle throw at the surface, swinging its fluke (tail) sideways and flinging water all over, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale performing a peduncle throw at the surface, swinging its fluke (tail) sideways and flinging water all over.
Image ID: 00182
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

This photograph was taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

Photo of a Humpback Whale Singing

Hawaii, Humpback Whale, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

A humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) singing, Hawaii. This was shot under research permit as part of the research activities of the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation. It is virtually certain that only male humpback whales sing since genetic sampling of singers has never revealed a female. This one was hanging motionless 40′ under the surface for the duration of the 15 minute song. The same song is sung by all humpback whales in the North Pacific basin in a given year, gradually changing from year to year. A few remaining barnacles from cold northern waters are visible on the right tip of the fluke and around the genital slit on the whale’s underside; these barnacles will die and fall off the warmer Hawaiian waters.

Humpback whale (male) singing, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale (male) singing.
Image ID: 02802
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

More humpback whale photos.

This photograph was taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

Photos of Humpback Whale Bubble Displays

Hawaii, Humpback Whale, Underwater Life, Wildlife

Humpback whales are famous for their use of bubbles to “net” prey, especially in Alaska where coordinated bubble netting among groups of humpback whales is often seen. However, humpbacks also commonly use bubble displays and air releases in their social interactions in warm waters. It is thought the these bubble releases are signals to nearby whales. This seems most true in humpback groups engaged in “rowdy” behaviour, in which a group of male whales is competing for position in the group, usually alongside a focal female whale. In these situations, bubbles seem to be released by male escort whales in an effort to intimidate rival escort whales, or to create a visual barrier.

North Pacific humpback whale, male escort bubble streams alongside mother and calf, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whale, male escort bubble streams alongside mother and calf.
Image ID: 05926
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Bubble curtains occur when a whale swims along emitting a steady stream of bubbles. Seen from above water, the curtain becomes a bubble trail sometimes reaching a length of a hundred yards or more, and can be useful in locating whales that have been underwater for a while. Sometimes several competing males in a group will simultaneously create bubble curtains, perhaps to intimidate one another or “shield” a female from approach by a challenging male.

North Pacific humpback whale, male bubble trailing in competitive group, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whale, male bubble trailing in competitive group.
Image ID: 02150
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Bubble blasts usually occur just as a whale is surfacing. They may be both an attempt to intimidate a nearby competing whale and an early exhalation in a particularly strenuous competitive group. Bubble blasts often accompany a head lunge, where the whale surfaces at speed, exhaling hard and with sufficient momentum that it drives forward with rostrum and head partially out of the water. Occasionally, singletons and inquisitive whales perform bubble displays in a non-agonistic situation as they swim near a boat or research divers.

Humpback whale lunging out of the water at it reaches the surface, exhaling in a burst of bubbles, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale lunging out of the water at it reaches the surface, exhaling in a burst of bubbles.
Image ID: 01407
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

North Pacific humpback whale, primary escort bubble trails alongside female amid competitive group, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whale, primary escort bubble trails alongside female amid competitive group.
Image ID: 06034
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Keywords: humpback whale, bubble stream, blow, spout, bubble trail, bubbles, Megaptera novaeangliae, underwater.

These photographs were taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

Photos of Boat Strikes of Marine Animals

Environmental Problems, Humpback Whale, Marine Life, Ocean Sunfish

Boat strikes of marine animals are increasingly common, for obvious reasons. It is disappointing to observe a marine animal severely or mortally wounded by a collision with a boat. We have encountered several marine animals bearing unmistakable boat propeller scars:

North Pacific humpback whale showing extensive scarring, almost certainly from a boat propeller, on dorsal ridge, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

North Pacific humpback whale showing extensive scarring, almost certainly from a boat propeller, on dorsal ridge.
Image ID: 05910
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Ocean sunfish injured by boat prop with cleaner fishes, open ocean, Baja California, Mola mola

Ocean sunfish injured by boat prop with cleaner fishes, open ocean, Baja California.
Image ID: 06410
Species: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola

West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida

West Indian manatee.
Image ID: 02651
Species: West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus
Location: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida, USA

Gray whale dorsal aspect showing injury/wound/indentation likely caused by boat, Laguna San Ignacio, Eschrichtius robustus, San Ignacio Lagoon

Gray whale dorsal aspect showing injury/wound/indentation likely caused by boat, Laguna San Ignacio.
Image ID: 06426
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California, Mexico

See more boat strike and propeller scar photos.

Keywords: propeller scar photo, boat strike, injury, photograph, boat collision.

The humpback whale photograph was taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.<

Photos of Humpback Whale Pectoral Fin Displays

Hawaii, Humpback Whale

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, are known for displaying a wide range of surface behaviors (i.e., behaviors seen from above water), such as breaching, head lunging, tail lobbing and spyhopping. Among these behaviors, pectoral fin displays are some of the most interesting. Humpback whales have the longest pectoral fins of all cetaceans — indeed the latin Megaptera translates to “giant wing” — and they will often lift their long fins well out of the water. This behavior can be seen when the whales are gathered in social groups as well as with solitary animals.

Humpback whale swimming inverted with both pectoral fin raised clear of the water, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale swimming inverted with both pectoral fin raised clear of the water.
Image ID: 04116
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

These photographs were taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under NMFS scientific permits 633, 882, 587 as well as various State of Hawaii permits. Their use is subject to certain restrictions.

Keywords: humpback whale photo, megaptera novaengliae, pectoral fin.

These photographs were taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.