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A beautiful Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae - meaning 'long-winged' for their long flippers) seen breaching off the coast of New England, USA. Humpback populations were decimated by hunting, and it is estimated that today they number only 10% of their original population. Humpbacks are baleen whales with 300 to 400 hair-like plates in their throat. They use these plates to strain shrimp, small fish and plankton out of ocean waters for food. Humpbacks often swim in pods of 3 to 12 individuals. While it is not known exactly why they "breach" (jump out of the water), scientists believe whales may do this to communicate.

Humpback Whale (New England, USA) by Jason Flanders
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