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The humpback whale is a baleen whale species that is known for its songs and displays of elaborate courtship. It has massive pectoral fins that can grow up to 16 feet long. These whales also have dark backs, light bellies, pleats on their throats, and a slight hump in front of their dorsal fin, which leads to the common name “humpback”.
See the fact file below for more information on the humpback whale or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Humpback Whale worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The stocky body, conspicuous hump, black dorsal coloring, and elongated pectoral fins make it easy to distinguish the humpbacks from other whales.
- The head and lower jaw are lined with tuberculosis knobs, which are hair follicles that are typical of the genus. The fluctuated tail, usually up above the surface while swimming, has wavy, trailing edges.
- On either side of their mouth, humpbacks have 270 to 400 darkly colored baleen plates. The plates range from 18 inches (46cm) in the front to around 3 feet (0.91m) in the back.
- In her genital region, the female humpback has a hemispheric lobe about 5.9 inches in diameter. This is a visual differentiation between the males and females.
- The penis of the male normally stays concealed in the opening of the genital area.
- Fully grown males average between 42-46 feet long, while females are slightly larger, ranging between 49-53 feet long. Generally, their body mass is between 27-33 tons, with large specimens weighing more than 44 tons.
- Its long, black and white tail fin can be up to a third of the length of the body. With a series of knuckle-like knobs, the humpback’s very long, powerful pectoral fins along its anterior edges are effective arms during confrontations with killer whales.
- Humpback whales live along all ocean coasts, often swimming along the shore, including in harbors and rivers. In summer, they undergo long migrations between polar feeding grounds, while in winter, they frequent tropical or subtropical breeding grounds.
- Their diet consists of shrimp-like crustaceans called krill, small fish, and plankton that the humpback whales strain from the water with their baleen.
- Mothers and their young swim closely together, often touching each other with their flippers as expressions of their affection.
- Humpbacks use a special feeding technique called bubble netting, in which bubbles are exhaled as the whales swim in a spiral under a thick patch of food water.
- The curtain of bubbles restricts the prey to a small area with one or two whales surfacing in the center.
- Humpbacks, the most vocal of all whales, make a wide range of sounds, from moans and yells to groans and snores. The whales string these together to create “songs”.
- Humpback whales are known for their mystical songs, which float across the oceans of the world for great distances. Such sequences of moans, howls, screams, and other sounds are very complex and sometimes end up going on for hours.
- Humpbacks live all over the world, so exactly where they can be found depends on the time of year it is. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), many humpbacks spend their time in high latitude feeding areas such as the Alaska Gulf or the Gulf of Maine in the summer.
- At one time, the humpback whale was commercially valuable. It was greatly reduced in numbers by overhunting in the early and mid-20th century.
- It has been protected worldwide from commercial whaling since the mid-1960s, and many populations have increased.
- Rather than teeth, humpback whales have 270 to 400 fringed overlapping plates that hang down from either side of the upper jaw.
- These are called baleen plates. The plates are made of keratin, which is the same material that makes up human hair and nails.
- According to NOAA, baleen plates are black and about 30 inches wide.
- Most humpbacks dine on small fish, krill (small crustaceans), and plankton. They take in big gulps of water to consume food. There are anywhere from 12 to 36 throat grooves below the mouth that expand to hold the water.
SWIMMING AND BREACHING
- Humpbacks are powerful swimmers. Using their huge tail fin, called a fluke, they drive themselves through and even out of the water. These whales, like others, regularly leap from the water, landing with a tremendous splash.
- A favorite of whale watchers, they hit the water with their flukes and pectoral fins, rise nose-first out of the water (called “spyhopping”), and perform pendulum throws. This action is peculiar to this species, in which they lift their entire rear torso and tail out of the water, twist, and slam their lower half down onto the water’s surface.
- Rarer displays include flapping their fins like wings and occasionally gathering in “super groups” of as many as 200, though scientists don’t know why.
Humpback Whale Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the humpback whale across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Humpback Whale worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the humpback whale which is a baleen whale species that is known for its songs and displays of elaborate courtship. It has massive pectoral fins that can grow up to 16 feet long. These whales also have dark backs, light bellies, pleats on their throats, and a slight hump in front of their dorsal fin, which leads to the common name “humpback”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Humpback Whale Facts
- Humpy Info
- Jumbled Humpback
- Surfacing Behavior Pics
- The Parts
- Comic Strip
- Jigsaw Puzzle
- Check My List
- Movie Time
- Guess the Word
- Around the World
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Link will appear as Humpback Whale Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 23, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.