Member of a pair, 0% white flukes
This whale was slapping its tail on the water when we sighted it in February 2011. Fortunately for HMMC researchers, whales shed flakes of skin when they breach and make other splashy behaviors on the water. When that happens, we wait for the whale to leave the area and carefully motor over to where we can use a dip-net to collect flakes of whale skin off the ocean’s surface. The genetic fingerprint of a skin sample can tell the sex, maternal lineage and kinship of this individual. The sexes of pairs of whales are of particular interest to HMMC, because mating has never been scientifically documented and quiet pairs seem a likely group type where mating could happen.