Deep Blue

2010 Deep Blue Designs  -  Handcrafted Wooden Fish by Nathan Burtenshaw

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Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have a small dorsal fin with a distinctive hump at the front, knobbly protuberances on the head, tip of lower jaw and leading edge of extremely long flippers. Their flukes are broad and have a unique black and white colour pattern, which allow individuals to be identified. They have a variable colour but are generally black with white patches on the flippers. Adult Humpbacks grow up to 15 m in length. They are frequent visitors to the coastal waters of New Zealand when they undertake seasonal long distance migrations (710,000 km/yr) between summer feeding grounds in high latitudes (Antarctica) and winter calving and breeding grounds in tropical or near tropical waters.  They travel mainly along the east-coast and Cook Strait during winter and return along the west-coast during spring.

These whales are baleen feeders with a generalised diet, including krill and small schooling fish (e.g. mackerel and herring). They show the most diverse feeding techniques of all baleen whales including lunging through patches of prey, stunning prey with their flippers and forming “bubble-nets”.

Breeding and calving both occur in winter, as gestation lasts around 11 months. Nursing seems to continue until calves are one year old. Females typically give birth every two to three years.