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Humpback Whale Tails
Megaptera novaeangliae
The Tail of a Humpback Whale
A Humpback Whales tail is like a humans fingerprint.

The marks on the tail of a Humpback whale are unique to that whale. It is the way researchers can identify individual whales and track them each season. The dorsal fin is also unique to that whale.

Small rounded marks from barnacles, chunks out of the tail, teeth marks from predators make each tail unique and assist in identification by researchers.

The tail of an adult Humpback Whale rising out of the water with sea water streaming off it is regarded as one of the best photos you can get and it certainly is impressive on a sunny day.

An adults tail can be massive and you can easily see the thrust it gives to the whale when swimming.

Predators will often attack the tail of a whale they are hunting. They will nip and bite the pectoral fins and the tail of the whale to try and immobilize it. With persistence this will damage those parts of the whale so it cannot swim and the whale will drown. This has been observed and allows the predators to eat the whale with minimum risk of damage to the predator.

Most humpback whales bear the scars of such encounters with Orca teeth marks and the rake marks from a Great White Shark being highly apparent on whales that escaped predation attempts.

The tail of a Humpback whale is often used in logos and advertising for the tourism industry.
Gary Crockett
Copyright 2011
Email: croc12000@yahoo.com
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