Humpback Whale – Megaptera novaeangliae
Description: Robust body, relatively short, flattened head. Top of head and lower jaw covered by a number of fleshy knobs. Dorsal fin variable in size and shape, from small triangular knob to large distinctly recurved fin, 2/3 along the back. Broad, bushy, 2.5 – 3 m high blow. Flippers are long, nearly 1/3 total body length, scalloped, with bumps along leading edge, and white on underside. Flukes are broad, distinctly notched, commonly scalloped with knobs along trailing edge giving an irregular appearance. Underside of the animal is partially or completely white. Frequently breaches out of water.
Size: 13 – 15 m.
Distribution: Worldwide in all seas, even occasionally to ice edge. Occurs around Iceland, Norway, Great Britain, and Ireland. Sightings around British Isles increased markedly since early 1980s, espeically around Northern Isles south to eastern England, northern Irish Sea north to west Scotland, Celtic Sea. Sightings occur year round but mostly June and January.
Conservation Status & Population: Listed by IUCN as least concern.