Humpback Whale (species: Megaptera novaeangliae) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Megaptera novaeangliae
Humpback Whale

©Whit Welles: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

©Marianne Dwyer: One of two adult Humpback Whale with a calf at Lizard Island, 25 August 2016.

©Marianne Dwyer: Two adult Humpback Whales with calf at Lizard Island, 25 August 2016.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Balaenopteridae
Genus Megaptera
Species Megaptera novaeangliae
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A large baleen whale with a small dorsal fin on the distinctive hump. Extremely long pectoral fins, about one third of body length. Knobbly protuberances on head and pectoral fins. Dark grey with white patches on pectoral fins and tail flukes.


  • Up to 1600 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Adults
  • From 400 cm to 0 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Newborn

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island area: Humpbacks are seen frequently between May and August

Web resources


  • Baker, A.N. (1983). Whales and Dolphins of New Zealand and Australia: An identification guide Victoria University Press, Wellington, NZ.