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The hump-back whale gets its name from the distinctive hump in front of the dorsal fin and from the way it raises its back high above water before diving They are a member of the order Cetacea This order is of aquatic mammals and the hump-back belongs to the suborder of the Mysticeti The Mysticeti are the baleen whales which have three families and several species The family in which the hump-back belongs is the Balaenopteridae the true fin backed whale The thing that separates this genus from the other fin-backed whales is the pectoral fins which grow in lengths of about 164 feet This Genus is called Megaptera meaning great wing There was a controversy over the species name in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century In 1932 Remington Kellogg finally settled the matter with Megatera Novaeangliae The common English name is the hump- back whaleThe hump-back whale lives in both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans They migrate from North to South in the months of July through September They head south for the winter They go to one of three areas 1The coast of southern New Jersey 2off the coast of Maryland 3and also off the coast of southern Virginia and the northern part of North CarolinaOne of the reasons these whales go North is for feeding They have a short food chain compared to most mammals Phytoplankton turns sunlight into energy and this energy is consumed by zooplankton The zooplankton and phytoplankton are eaten by small fish The whale in turn eats the fish The chain is complete when waste products or dead whales decompose They have a very short time frame in which they eat compared to the twelve months out of the yearIt seems that they only feed during the summer months up north During the fasting periods in New Jersey they survive on their blubber They mix their diet with copepods euphausiids krill and small fish
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