Humpback whales can travel huge distances in search of mating, per a new study.
Experts observed some moving from breeding waters near Mexico to near Hawaii, some 3,700 miles.They were previously thought to stick to one area rather than making the months-long trip.
Humpback whales can swim as far as 3,700 miles for the chance to mate, per a new study.
Two distinctive males, which could be recognized by markings on their tails, were recorded in two popular mating grounds less than two months apart.
The first was off the western coast of Mexico, and the second was near Hawaii, a distance of around 3,700 miles.
The timing suggests the whales swam faster than their typical cruising speed of 2.5 miles per hour to get there.
“Our first reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!'” James Darling of the Whale Trust Maui in Hawaii and an author on the study told the New Scientist magazine.
“They might just be traveling the ocean like it’s their own backyard,” he said.
Scientists previously assumed they would choose one mating site. But, thanks to the distinctive tail markings, the scientists saw that one male traveled 2,824 miles from Maui, Hawaii, to the Revillagigedo Archipelago of Mexico between 23 February and 17 April 2006.
The second made the opposite journey, from Guerrero, Mexico, to Maui between 16 February and April 5 in 2018, a journey that is 3693 miles (5944 km) long.
He was one of seven males to pursue a single female there, New Scientist said.
There’s no reason to think females would not do the same, Darling told the outlet.