Off Hawaii: Humpback whales observed mating for the first time: There were two males

Despite intensive research, little is known about the mating behavior of humpback whales.

Off Hawaii: Humpback whales observed mating for the first time: There were two males

Despite intensive research, little is known about the mating behavior of humpback whales. But in January 2022, Lyle Krannichfeld and Brandi Romano took photos of two humpback whales mating west of the Hawaiian island of Maui, as they report in the specialist magazine “Marine Mammal Science”.

Accordingly, the whales came within a few meters of their boat. Krannichfeld and Romano then took underwater photos of the two animals. The humpback whales swam around the boat for about thirty minutes. One of the whales had an erect penis and penetrated the genital opening - where the penis is normally hidden - of the other whale several times. One whale would have clasped the other with its pectoral fins.

By comparing the tail fins of both animals with the photos in a database, it was confirmed that they were two male animals, write Krannichfeld and Romano. They also try to explain the behavior of the two whales: "Some possible explanations for this behavior are that whale B mistakenly attempted to mate with whale A, that it was cementing a social relationship with a sick conspecific, or that it was an expression of the Dominance over a weak and injured competitor."

As fascinating as this behavior may have been. Marine research is still waiting to observe a mating of male and female humpback whales. Adult humpback whales grow up to 15 meters long and are often found near the coast. They are considered particularly lively and are famous for their jumps and "songs". The humpback whale is a protected species.

Quellen:"The Guardian", "Wiley Online Library".

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