Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Humpback Whale Photos

In the last blog I wrote about our latest encounter with humpback whales here in the Kisite Mpunugti MPA, so I thought would share some of the many photos our marine research team on the day managed to get.

The mother-calf pair observed on Thursday 4th September 2008

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, can grow up to 15m in length and 30 tonnes in weight. They are a highly migratory species travelling up the East African coast to breed in the warm clear waters off the Arabian peninsula. Sightings of very young calves indicate that they may breed off the Kenyan coast as they will generally wait until their calves are strong enough before attempting the long journey back to the productive feeding grounds of the antarctic for during the southern hemisphere's summer months.

Humpback whales are baleen whales, or mysticetes, with baleen plates instead of teeth, for filter-feeding. They are named for their characteristic long hump beneath the somewhat short, stubby dorsal fin. Their pectoral fins are distinctively long, up to one third of their body length and the head is covered in numerous knobs called tubercles.