Saturday, November 06, 2010

Humpback whale beats long distance record

Marine biologists are reporting that a humpback whale has broken the world record for travel by any mammal, swimming at least 9,800 kilometres (6,125 miles) from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean in search of a mate. That's a heck of a trip when you consider that humpbacks swim at a rate of 1-5 miles per hour!

This female humpback was first photographed among a group of whales at a ground off the Southeast coast of Brazil in August 1999.

By sheer chance, it was photographed again in September 2001 by a commercial whale-watching tour at a breeding ground near the Ile Sainte Marie off the east coast of Madagascar.

The whale was identified by its distinctive tail shape and its pattern of spots.

Not only is the distance of her commute of interest but until now, it was thought that only males, rather than females, would be inclined to wander such extreme distances in quest of a partner.

Humpbacks are known to be long-distance swimmers, but until now their migration patterns were thought to be between northern and southerly latitudes. (i.e. from Bay of Fundy to Caribbean)

Source: , published by Britain's Royal Society.

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