Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale.  Photo:  WDC
Humpback Whale. Photo: WDC
  • Scientific Name: Megaptera novaeangliae
  • Length: 45 – 56 feet
  • Weight: 25 – 45 tons
  • Population seen in the Northeast*: over 800
  • Status: Endangered
  • Description:  Medium-sized, dark whale with distinctive ridge anterior to the dorsal fin. Noticeable bumps on the head. Extremely long white pectoral flippers. Typically flukes (lifts its tail out of the water) prior to a sounding dive. Flukes are serrated at trailing edge and may be completely white or black but are usually a variation of black and white. Spout is usually short and bushy in appearance. Can be curious around boats.

* Gulf of Maine Population

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Much of what we know about humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine comes from the hard work of researchers at the Center for Coastal Studies. If you capture an image of the ventral fluke pattern of a humpback whale (as seen above) and want to support ongoing conservation efforts, you can submit your photo to the team at CCS and they will let you know if they recognize that individual!