(Megaptera novaeangliae)
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Geographic range: Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean: Humpback whales live in polar and tropical waters, particularly those of the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific Oceans. Their range also includes the waters of the Bering Sea and the waters surrounding Antarctica.

Physical characteristics: Humpbacks reach up to 16 m in length and 40 t in weight. Females are larger than the males. The most distinctive external features of humpbacks are the flipper size and form, fluke coloration and shape, and dorsal fin shape. Flippers are quite long and can be almost a third of the body length. They are largely white and have knobs on the leading edge. The butterfly-shaped tail flukes bear individually distinctive patterns of gray and white, and have a scalloped trailing edge. There are 14 to 35 ventral pleats or grooves. The humpback has the greatest relative blubber thickness for its size of any rorqual, and is usually second only to the blue whale in absolute thickness. Blubber thickness varies at different times of the year, and with age and physiological condition. Baleen plates are usually all black with blackish bristles.

Food habits: Highly mobile and opportunistic feeders. Will feed on plankton, or fish in large patches or schools. Because of this, humpbacks are classified as "swallowers" and not "skimmers." Feeding by humpbacks takes place during the summer.

Reproduction: Humpbacks have a polygynous/polygamous mating system, with the males competing aggressively for access to estrous females. There is no parental investment on the part of the males. The breeding season is during the winter, and breeding and calving takes place in tropical waters. The gestation period lasts 11-11.5 months. The calves are born in the warm tropical water and subtropical waters during winder months. When born, the calves are usually 4-5 m long.

Behavior: Humpback whales live in groups. They migrate seasonally from the tropics to the northern feeding grounds. In the tropics, they are found in dense aggregations on shallow banks. They are usually deep oceanic migrants between their feeding and breeding grounds; the vast majority of humpbacks do not come into coastal waters until they reach the latitudes of Long Island, New York or, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They tend to disperse more widely in deep waters then when in shallow water. Migration is largely connected with the two functions of feeding and reproduction.

The habitat of the humpback whale consists of polar to tropical waters, including the waters of the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, as well as, the waters surrounding Antarctica and the Bering Strait. During migration, they are found in coastal and deep oceanic waters.

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