Happy Fathers Day

When it comes to the life of whales, the boys may not be the best fatherly role models. However, in honour of Father’s Day we thought we’d dive a bit deeper into the life of a male whale!

1. A man with many wife’s 

Most whale species, including southern right whales, humpbacks and Sperm Whales do not choose only one mate. During breeding season one female whale may mate with an average of seven male partners to increase the likelihood of pregnancy. Known as polygamous this Greek word translates as poly = many, gynous = wives, meaning one male to many females.

2. Male Humpback whales could be considered romantic?

Have you ever been serenaded by a man before? Probably the best known of all humpback whale behaviours is their mysterious singing, which is exclusive to male whales. Because they sing mostly on the breeding grounds it could well be a reproductive strategy. Some researchers believe they sing to attract a mate whilst others think it could be used to communicate territory to other whales.

3. You can’t argue that they are well endowed….

With the blue whale being the largest animal in the world it is no surprise that all its body parts are breaking a record one way or another. Intercourse for a whale is a little tricker so their sexual organs have adapted. Unlike most mammals, the entire reproductive system in males is internal, concealed in a genital slit, this adaptation enhances their hydrodynamics when swimming and helps minimize heat loss. Size also matters… It needs to be long, strong and flexible! 

The male Right whale boasts the biggest testicles of any animal on earth. Weighing in at one tonne each and producing over 5 gallons of sperm, It is believed that the amount of sperm ejaculated may well help wash out that of any previous paramours and so increasing the chances of that male being the future father. 

4. An attentive and protective boyfriend

During mating season it isn’t unusual to see a mother and calf with an escort. The males will often act in a protective manner, hustling their charges along. Sometimes challengers will appear and the males will do all it takes to defend the female as their own.  With Humpbacks in particular it’s not uncommon to see up to 10 male whales competition for the right of the females escort. 

5. But also an absent Father 

Unfortunately the “affection” doesn’t last long, once the deed has been done, and the male has successfully passed on his genes to his future offspring that is his job done! 

 So although the whales wont be awarded Best Dad of the year anytime soon, I think we can all agree there’s definitely some traits there to admire them about! 

 

 

Posted by Fiona Wardle on September 06, 2020