ALEXIS ROSENFELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEXIS ROSENFELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Humpback whale breaching. Image 4 of 6. A humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) will breach, or leap, when it can generate enough upward force with its tail to lift nearly half of its body out of the water. During breaching, the whale may twist its body sideways. It is not known for certain why whales breach, but it is thought to be related to courtship or play activity. The humpback whale can grow to 27 tonnes in weight and 15 metres in length, and is found in deep coastal waters in all of the world's oceans. For a sequence showing a whale breaching, see Z920/169- 174.
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