Subject: Humpback Whales Life Cycle

Lindsay J Porter (
Sun, 5 Apr 1998 21:21:51 +0800 (HKT)

>I am interested in information concerning the life cycle of the humpback
>How long are they children? Do they go out on their own at a certain age?
At what age are they considered grown-ups? How long do they live?
>Thank you, 
>Steven Shanahan
>grade 3
>age 9

Dear Steven,
Check out the hump-back whale site on

To answer your specific questions I used the reference book by Leatherwood
and Reeves "The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins" (San Francisco

Megaptera novaeangliae The Humpback whale
Mothers nurse calves for approx. 1 year, until they are about twice their
birth length - that is about 8m.  Sexual maturity is reached when the whale
is approximately 12m long and adult grow to about 16m in total.  Whales hang
out in groups of about 3-4, which are part of larger populations.
Populations migrate from cold waters to warm tropical waters to calve. 

best wishes
Lindsay J Porter
Dolphin Research Group
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong
Cape d'Aguilar
Hong Kong