Humpback’s mating season brings females to calf in tropical waters.
Of Peruvian Current (cold Antarctic waters, formerly called Humboldt Current), Humpbacks again arrived to equatorial waters.
Their annual mating season continues as hundreds of pregnant cows arrive in tropical regions to give birth to their calves. After months of feasting on krill and plankton, a long fasting period begins, with impressive north-bound migrations for calving.
During the southern winter, Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) leave temporarily their feeding grounds to give birth in safer, tropical waters. The calves will gain weight and size in astonishing time. For about 11 months, they will feed on the mother’s rich milk, gulping up to 100 liters of milk in a single day. Then the calf will stay with its mother for another year. Regularly, females give birth once every three years, to a single calf. Gestation alone takes about one year.
The humpbacks that regularly visit Galápagos belong to the group living in southern, Antarctic waters. These Humpbacks are slightly larger that their northern counterparts, and never interact with them as their seasons are opposite to each other.
Groups on board the Metropolitan Touring fleet have seen marvelous displays of mothers and calves frolicking at the sea surface. These are not only lifetime memories, but help scientist keep records of whales, by identifying “fingerprint” markings on body parts like flukes or dorsal fins.