The Whales Of The Great Barrier Reef

Dwarf Minke Whales

Dwarf Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales. With no teeth but rather a series of baleen plates that hang from both side of their mouth and are used like a filter to trap their food krill. Dwarf Minke whales feed in the sub Antarctic waters during December to March however they have never been seen feeding on Great Barrier Reef. With their smaller size they cannot lay down large energy reserves so it is thought they feed opportunistically in Open Ocean while visiting the tropics. Growing to a size up to 8 meters they can swim in bursts at speeds of up to 12 knots.

Humpback Whales

Humpback Whales undertake regular migrations between sub Antarctic waters where they feed and tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef where calves are born and nursed. During their stay in tropical waters they feed little and subsist on energy reserves.

Female Humpbacks are larger than the male and can reach lengths of 15 meters and weigh over 40 tones. Humpbacks have the largest flippers of all whales up to one third length of bodies Only the males sing and probably only during mating season, breaching - leaping out of the water and crashing back as well as flipper smacking may also be communication.

Minke whales - photos courtesy TAKA Dive | Whales with TUSA vessel - photos courtesy of Des Williams

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