This video was filmed on location in Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga courtesy of the Founder of Blue Sphere Foundation @bluespherefoundation , Emmy Award-winning Conservation Photojournalist and Racing Extinction @racingextinction Team Member, Shawn Heinrichs @shawnheinrichs - 😍🐳 Take a mid-week break and watch this clip from one of our favorite encounters with humpbacks in Tonga! 🐋 Incredible how a mother whale can entrust her most precious possession to interact freely with us. 🙏💙
🔵Humpback whales are enormous creatures — about the size of a school bus. They are known for their haunting and melodic songs and for breaching the water with amazing acrobatic abilities.
Humpbacks don't normally have a hump on their backs; the name comes from the large hump that forms when they arch their backs before making a deep dive into the ocean. The scientific name, Megaptera novaeangliae, means "big-winged New Englander" because the population that swam off New England was the best known to Europeans, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Humpback whales are not the biggest whales — that's the blue whale. Humpbacks can grow to 60 feet (18 meters) long, and they can weigh a whopping 40 tons (about half the size of a blue whale), according to the NOAA. Their flippers can grow up to 16 feet (5 m) long, which is the largest appendage in the world. Their tails are also massive and grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m) wide. Like most whales, females are larger than males.
Humpbacks' heads are broad and rounded and covered with knobs, called tubercles. Each knob contains at least one stiff hair, according to the American Cetacean Society (ACS). The purpose of the hairs is not known, but it is thought that they may be motion detectors.
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