Humpbacks have 270 to 400 darkly-coloured baleen plates on each side of the mouth. Ventral grooves run from the lower jaw to the umbilicus about halfway along the bottom of the whale. These grooves are less numerous (usually 16–20 in number) and consequently more prominent than in other rorquals. The stubby dorsal fin is visible soon after the blow when the whale surfaces, but has disappeared by the time the flukes emerge. It has a distinctive 3 m bushy blow.













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Tail flukes show unique waves on the trailing edges.The calf is about 4–4.5 metres long when born and weighs approximately 700 kg. Calves are nursed by their mothers for their first six months, then are sustained through a mixture of nursing and independent feeding for a further six months. Calves leave their mothers at the start of their second year, when they are typically 9 metres long. Both sexes reach sexual maturity at the age of five. Full adult size is achieved a little later. Grown size is commonly 15–16 metres in males, 16–17 metres in females, and a weight of 40,000 kg; the largest ever recorded specimen was 19 metres long and had pectoral fins measuring six metres each.

Images 1 Though 6 Are Courtesy of the U.S.D.A.
Images 7 Through 18 Are From The N.O.A.A.
















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