Humpback Whale Photo Identification Database. Her home-and-garden and nature articles have appeared in "Birds & Blooms" and "Alamance Today." Shape The World. To take a new fluke id photgraph through the entire catalogue of 7,000 individual whale ids would take days. Photographs of whale flukes are not always ideal. Blue Whale fluking off Orange County California image by ADMIRAL BENBOW from Fotolia.com. Blue whale lifting its tail flukes. When a large whale prepares for a deep dive, he arches his back, moving the central part of his body above water to get a better downward angle. Another difference between flukes and fish tails is that flukes don't contain bones. Unlike fish, which have vertical tails, the whale's tail is on a horizontal plane when his body's upright. Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), tail, Humpback Whale NMS, Maui,Hawaii. To try to make this process somewhat easier, there are five basic types of whale flukes: 1. The size, shape and position of the dorsal fin varies greatly among species and a few species have no fin at all. There is no computer software programme that can reliably identify whale flukes. What is often referred to as the tail are actually called flukes with each side or lobe called a fluke. So much diversity exists among whale species that some have only the most basic traits in common with others. Our oceans are home to 41 species of whale ( ITIS ), with sizes ranging from the Dwarf sperm whale at 2.5m (8') to the 33m (110') Blue whale, which is the largest animal species to … Fluking does not always occur; Fin and minke whales rarely expose their tail flukes upon diving. Now when we go out and photograph a fluke we can check within our own fluke catalogue to see if it is a whale that has been here before! These are just nine of them. Humpback Whale and Blue Whale: These two whales have a beautiful lobed shaped tail fluke that is rather large compared to others. Jackie Carroll has been a freelance writer since 1995. Since they began the project in 1979, they have compiled a photographic record of 1,900 different whale flukes. These include- 'typical'; 'eyes white surrounded by black'; 'wide black trailing edge'; 'wide black leading edge'; 'fireworks'; 'white on trailing edge'; 'straightsided'; 'rounded not to notch'. 5. Listen to the humpback whale The fluke is smooth and black on southern right and sperm whales. Several thousands humpback individuals have been photo-identified by their fluke markings and have become part of catalogs of whales in the North Atlantic. The Migration Route of the Bottlenose Dolphin, How to Tell the Difference Between Shark & Dolphin Fins. Humpback whales have patterns of black and white pigmentation and scars on the underside of their tails that are unique to each whale – Similar to a human’s fingerprint. Before this time, whales paddled around using two feet at the base of their spine. A photograph of these markings provides a permanent identification (ID) record of an individual whale. Sei whales occur in subtropical, temperate, and subpolar waters around the world. Allied Whale developed photo-id techniques for humpback whales and in 1976 published the first North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog. Fluke: Whale Watching Activity 2 Vocabulary (more information on the whale behavior chart) Blow: the spout that is a result of the whale taking a breath, on average adult humpbacks take a breath every 10-15 minutes but some can stay underwater as long as 45 minutes. Every fluke sighted is given an identification number. The fin whale is the second-largest animal in the world. She holds a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from the University of North Carolina. Empower Her. The humpback whale photo-identification (or photo-ID) project involves photographing and cataloging flukes, which are the underside of a humpback whale’s tail. Founded in 1972 by Dr. Steven Katona and composed of faculty, senior researchers, research associates and students, Allied Whale has been instrumental in establishing research techniques that have been adopted world-wide including the photo-identification of humpbacks and is home of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue, the YoNAH Catalogue, and the Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue. Additional points are added to help determine the fluke bounding box following an affine transformation on the image. Another role of flukes is body temperature control. Can you identify a whale by the picture of its fluke? When a new fluke id is sent in, at least two people have to take that new fluke id through the catalogue to either match it with an existing photograph, or assign it a unique identifying number as a newly identified whale. Imagine trying to match a single fluke ID photograph with some 6,500 fluke photographs in a whale catalogue and you'll get an idea of how difficult it really is! Can you identify a whale by the picture of its fluke? Blue Whale fluking off Orange County California image by ADMIRAL BENBOW from. When a whale takes a deep dive, it often arches its body to dive at a steeper angle, often exposing its tail flukes. Half white, half black. Here are the five basic types and the various sub-types. Blue whale, (Balaenoptera musculus), also called sulfur-bottom whale, the most massive animal ever to have lived, a species of baleen whale that weighs approximately 150 tons and may attain a length of more than 30 metres (98 feet). Mostly white. Often one can eliminate three types, and look through only two types. Sometimes one has to look through three types, especially if not 100% of the fluke can be seen. The names usually refer to marks on the fluke, but occasionally may refer to marks on another part of the body or relate to the mother’s name. This could corroborate my theory that the same whales are returning to Bermuda to aggregate, and may confirm the integrity of family or social units during the second half of their northward migratory crossing. © 2020 WILD SKY MEDIA. Humpback whale showing flukes. Within this catalog the whale fluke photographs are grouped by color pattern beginning with the most white and ending with all black flukes. By clicking on the fr logo above left you can access all our fluke IDs! The last thing you see of him before he disappears into the depths is his fluke sticking straight up above the water. the return of these digital images to Bermuda, we'll attempt to match more of the whales we have been studying over the last two years. As he swims, he moves the fluke up and down like a paddle, pushing himself forward with each stroke. Guidelines for taking identification photographs of humpback whales Identifications photographs are of the ventral side (underside) of the tail flukes. Identification trailing edge curves downwards, fluke is raised high on a deep dive the underside of the tail can have white patches The Pacific Whale Foundation identifies and tracks individual whales over time, using photo identification. Researchers can use the pictures of flukes to identify individual whales because each whale has unique flukes (similar to how people can be identified by their unique faces and fingerprints). Researchers document the marks on the right and left lobes of the tail, or flukes, and rate The intent of this dataset is to build a model for locating the whale fluke inside the image. Photo courtesy of Paula Olson. Allied Whale, the marine mammal research group at College of the Atlantic (COA), is one of the oldest marine mammal research associations in the United States. Humpback whale, blue whale, killer whale, grey whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin. 25% white. What Temperature of Water Do Dolphins Live In? 4. What Are the Important Body Features of Pink Dolphins? Flukes allow whales to travel further and move through water faster and with greater agility. Individual humpbacks are identified by the black and white pigmentation patterns and scars on the underside of their flukes (tails), and the distinctive scalloped edge, called the trailing edge of the flukes. While each whale has flukes, flukes themselves differ from species to species. Take a look at the following photo to get a better idea of the common terminology used when discussing parts of the flukes. Often found with pollack in Norway, the name \"sei\" comes from the Norwegian word for pollack, \"seje.\" This distinction alone can help with identification. Flukes are the two lobes of the whale tail. And we have our first Bermuda to Bermuda match, a match with a whale photographed by Ken Balcomb in 1977, thirty-two years ago! With the return of these digital images to Bermuda, we'll attempt to match more of the whales we have been studying over the last two years. Blow or Spout: The … There has to be at least three points of matching identification. This could corroborate my theory that the same whales are returning to Bermuda to aggregate, and may confirm the integrity of family or social units during the second half of their northward migratory crossing. While each whale has flukes, flukes themselves differ from species to species. Explain that when a humpback whale displays its flukes during a fluke up dive behavior, researchers can take pictures of the underside of the flukes. The local nicknames, found at the top right of each identification shot, were given by Janie, Hermann, students of Hartley Bay, research assistants and those that have sponsored a whale. While accidental entanglement in fishing gear poses the greatest threat to most other species of whale and dolphin, blue whales, with their great size and strength may be able to break free of gear more easily than other species. This gives us the identifying fluke photographs of some 350 individual North Atlantic humpback whales. VICTORIAN HUMPBACK WHALE FLUKE IDENTIFICATION CATALOGUE This document is the first and only identification catalogue for humpback whales in Victorian Waters and fills and important gap in the understanding of this species in the region. This photo can then be used to identify each animal. Kick-feeding is similar to flick-feeding: The whale slaps its pray to move it toward his mouth. Why Can Seals Only Get Oxygen From the Air? Whale researchers, including Dan Salden of Hawaii Whale Research Foundation with whom I worked from some years, maintain growing catalogs of humpback whale fluke ID photographs, allowing them to gain an understanding of where individual whales have been over time and, by extension, develop insight into the population as a whole. Mostly black. How Often Do Dolphins Come Up to Breathe? Our Matches section gives photographic evidence of cases where Allied Whale has successfully matched our whale flukes shots to their own catalogue. July 3, 2016 by Whale Trust Maui Humpback whales are easily identified based on the markings of the underside of the tail fluke. Flukes are the two lobes of the whale tail. They take pictures called fluke ID's and compare them to ones taken before. The development of flukes was the last step in the whale's evolution from land animal to water animal. The best time to see the fluke is when the whale surfaces. Whales with no white on their flukes comprise nearly half of the catalog; therefore this color pattern is subdivided by the width (narrow or wide) of the notch between each fluke. Within this catalog the whales are grouped by color pattern. The flukes have a distinct pattern on the underside, which varies from almost white with black markings, to almost black with white markings. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. In some whale species, flukes are so distinctive that researchers use them like fingerprints to identify individuals. 25% black. None of this makes much sense until you see the diagrams below depicting these types and sub-types. It will be fascinating to see if we can find more matches and even better if we can find a pattern to their sojourn in Bermuda. A whale's tail is made of two lobes separated by a deep notch. Each year, researchers and naturalists work together to name new adult whales and 2nd-year calves. Photographs should be taken at a range where the identifying features and the trailing edge are clearly visible. Flukes: Some large whales lift the fluke high into the air before a dive, others do not. First, you need to understand the anatomy of the flukes of a humpback whale. Photo-Identification . Dr Peter Stevick at Allied Whale has come up with some sub-types that can make the process of identification easier. Its sleek … A whale uses his flukes to propel himself forward in the water and the flippers at his sides to steer and brake. Unlike fish, which have tails that move from side to side (vertically), the whale’s fluke moves up and down, or horizontally, in powerful strokes. Fin Whale: Balaenoptera Physalus. WHAT TO LOOK FOR. Allied Whale at College of the Atlantic has a catalogue of some 7,000 individual North Atlantic humpback whale fluke identification photographs. The jagged edges along the back of the fluke, along with scars and other markings help identify a specific whale. Knowing what to look for in a fluke is the key to identifying an individual whale. 2. If it is matched, two Allied Whale staff have to confirm the match. And now Allied Whale has sent us identifying fluke photographs of an additional 146 individual humpback whales photographed here in Bermuda from the sixties to the present. Located directly under each photo is a unique identification number for each whale. Fluking. Only good photos of the underside of a humpback whale fluke, the part that shows when the whale makes a deep dive, are useful. Some of our first Bermuda matches were to whales first sighted thirty years ago that hadn't been seen (or at least photographed and identified) since! The tail fin, formally known as the fluke, is a powerful fin that works primarily to propel the animal forward. Two techniques, photo-identification and genetics, are used to . Identifying Individual Whales by their Flukes- YOU CAN NOW CHECK ALL OUR FLUKES ON OUR FLICKR SITE, Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 June 2012 17:35 ). Flukes from all over the world are welcome, but only ones from the North Atlantic are useful in the flukematcher flickr site. We are still adding records from our archives and from new surveys. Some whales, notably fin whales and minke whales, don't fluke. Flukes are among them. Some species raise their flukes to dive again. They are made up of dense, fibrous connective tissue surrounded by a network of arteries and veins. Called fluking, this diving posture gives researchers a good look at the tail markings, which can be distinct enough to identify individual whales. With his head in position, he moves downward. Introduction to the Whale Kit How to use the Whale Kit Manual The activities in this Whale Kit expose students to numerous aspects of whale biology, evolution, ecology, and conservation, and students should be encouraged to read and research more about the lifestyles of whales. These researchers have discovered that individual humpbacks can be identified by the black and white patterns on the underside of their flukes, similar to fingerprints for humans. 3. Each humpback whale can be identified by the unique black and white pattern on the underside of the flukes. Matching Fluke Photographs Fortunately, as humpbacks descend on deeper, foraging dives, they arch their back steeply and often raise their flukes or tail into the air. As he swims, he moves the fluke can be seen evidence of cases where Allied has! Appeared in `` Birds & Blooms '' and `` Alamance Today. a deep notch straight up the... 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