With a certified New England Aquarium naturalist on every trip, you’ll learn about all the remarkable marine life, as well as how to identify different species, and the methods we use to track individual animals.
The humpback is named for the way its back arches out of the water when preparing to dive. “Megaptera” is its true scientific name, which means “large-winged,” in reference to its long flippers.
Each humpback has distinct black and white markings on its fluke (tail). Since no two flukes are alike, scientists use these markings to distinguish one humpback from another.
When humpbacks leap into sight, it’s not because they like putting on a show. Often, they’re actually “lunge feeding” – plowing through heavy areas of food with their mouths open wide to dine on entire schools of fish including anchovies, cod and capelin.
Very little is known of the life history of Minke whales. Females are thought to give birth to a single calf every 1-2 years. Mother-calf pairs are rarely observed, although in the past we’ve seen what we think are independent calves with mom in the general vicinity during September and October.
Finbacks are mostly solitary, although coordinated groups of up to 15 have been observed. Mating is thought to take place during winter and there is some evidence they may live up to 100 years.