Photographing a breaching humpback whale

Photographing a breaching humpback whale

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Credit: CHRISTOPHER SWANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Photographing a breaching humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). The humpback whale is breaching in front of a boat carrying photographers. When breaching at the water's surface, humpback whales can generate enough upward force with their tails to lift nearly half of their body out of the water. It is not known for certain why whales breach, but it is thought to be related to courtship or play activity. This humpback whale is part of the Tongan tribe population, which migrates from feeding grounds in Antarctica, past New Zealand to breed in tropical waters around Tonga in the Pacific. The humpback whale can grow to 27 tonnes in weight and 15 metres in length. It feeds in cold waters on krill and small shoaling fish, breeding in shallower tropical waters. Photographed off Tonga.

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