Baleen whales, including humpback whales, have a unique feeding method that differentiates them from other types of whales. They do not have teeth, instead they have baleen plates in their mouths that they use to collect their food from the sea.
These plates filter, sift, sieve or trap the prey of the whale inside their mouth. This adaptation allows these whales to efficiently filter large amounts of seawater to obtain their food.
The Food Source of Humpback Whales
Humpback whales feed on a variety of small sea creatures such as shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish. These creatures form a significant part of the diet of baleen whales. They are known to filter large amounts of seawater to obtain their food.
They are also known to feed on planktonic organisms like copepods, euphausiids, and salps. Their opportunistic feeding behavior allows them to adapt to their surroundings and feed on the available prey.
The Structure of Baleen Plates
Baleen plates are made of keratin, the same protein that is found in human hair and nails. These plates are bristly in nature and are located in the upper jaw of the whale. The baleen of the bowhead whale is particularly long and can reach up to 4 meters in length.
Baleen plates come in different sizes depending on their location on the jaw. The plates at the front of the mouth are generally smaller in size, while those towards the back of the mouth are larger. This gradation in size allows for efficient filtering of water and the capture of a wide range of prey.
In conclusion, Humpback whales, like all baleen whales, do not have teeth. Instead, they have a unique adaptation in their jaws called baleen plates. These plates, made of keratin, are located on the top jaw of these whales and are an essential part of their feeding mechanism. Understanding the unique adaptations of humpback whales and their feeding habits can help us appreciate the diversity and complexity of marine life.