Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whales: Heads and Tails - Part Three

More on whale tails, flukes: Once a whale's tail arches into something of a chevron shape it then often stretches upward before disappearing beneath the water.  
During this time the ventricle side of the fluke is well exposed and provides a look at a more unique part of the whale's identity. The underside of each whale's fluke is very different. They can range from totally white to totally black and many shades and configurations in between.

I have selected a small collection of the fluke shots that I took on August 1st to illustrate just how different each one is.

Not only do they vary in color but they also vary in size. The Fin Whale seems to have a much smaller tail than the Humpback but honestly, I don't know if that is the case all of the time.
 This was one of the nicest flukes that I saw but unfortunately I was shooting into the sun and the light is not showcasing it as well as it really was.

 Scientists document the unique markings on the whale's body and the fluke to identify the same whale if it returns to an area in a subsequent year. Many of the tour boat operators will tell you that they recognize whales that do return year after year. Beyond the fluke, unique marks or scars on the whales' bodies also serve as identifiers.
Now that I have shared a lot of shots of the front and the rear of the whales, I will end this little series with shots of the whale bodies on my next post.

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