Marine Mammal Science & Conservation

Humpback whale

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Group formation: Solitary – gregarious (mother-calf pair/male escort, larger feeding groups)

Size: males 13-14 m, females 15-16 m, calf 6 m

Weight: males 28 t, females 33 t, calf 2 t

Spout: 3-6 m

Age: 45-100 yrs

Sexual maturity: males 7 yrs, females 5 yrs

Physical maturity: ca. 20 yrs

Gestation: 11-12mths, with 2-3 yrs in between

Weaning: 6-7 months

Diet: Krill and copepods in the Southern Oceans.

Distribution: Worldwide with 4 populations, in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Southern Oceans

Chile: Migrate from breeding grounds in Columbia to feeding grounds along the coast of southern Chile (Gulf of Corcovado, Magellan strait) to Antarctic waters south to the ice edge, animals can be seen in Aysen November-June.

Population size: global ca. 80.000, heavily exploited (90% reduced)

Conservation Status: Least Concern ver 3.1, Pop. trend: increasing

Threats: Vessel collisions, whaling (Greenland, Japan, Caribbean island Bequia in the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines), plastic pollution, man-made noise impacts (seismic surveys, military sonar), entanglement in fishing gear, over fishing