Humpback Whale, By Rodger Klein, Venice Beach, California, USA

Humpback Whale

Megaptera novaeangliae

Learn more about Megaptera novaeangliae from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Kingdom of Tonga
By Rodger Klein
Venice Beach, California, USA

The magnificent humpback is a baleen whale found in all of the major oceans. It migrates between tropical waters, where it breeds and gives birth in winter, and polar waters, where it feeds in summer. The species’ name is derived from the way its back arches when it dives deep into the water. Capable of acrobatic displays when hunting for food, the humpback uses its flexible flippers to quickly maneuver. Adult humpbacks are distinguished by their knobby heads, long flippers, and distinct fins and fluke. They range in length from about 45 to 55 feet and weigh up to 99,000 pounds.

“Being in the right place at the right time allowed me to capture the action as this whale rose vertically up and out of the water for a “spy hop” to look around the surface. We were literally eye to eye.” —RK

Nikon D3; 10.5mm fisheye lens; 1/1000 sec at ƒ/8; ISO 200; custom UW fiberglass housing by Taro Pascual at White Water Hawaii; hand-held.