Whales in Long Island Sound
Photo Credit: Dan Lent. (Taken off Stamford, Sept. 12, 2015)
Common Name: Humpback Whale
Latin Name: Megaptera novaengliae
Length/weight: up to 60 feet, but more commonly 45 feet (females are generally larger than males); 25 to 40 tons!
Range: Humpbacks live in all major oceans, from the equator to sub-polar latitudes. They migrate seasonally, and sometimes over incredibly long distances. Feeding grounds are in cold productive coastal waters.
Diet: They're a balleen whale that filter-feeds, so tiny crustaceans (mostly krill), plankton, small fish. They can eat up to 3,000 pounds of food a day.
Predators: Orcas and large sharks may take humpback calves. Larger threats are human: entanglement in fishing lines and being hit by ships.
Description: Humpbacks are known for their long pectoral fins. (Their scientific name means "big-winged New Englander.") They're primarily dark grey, but individuals have a variable amount of white on their pectoral fins and belly. This variation is so distinctive that the pigmentation pattern on the undersides of their "flukes" (tail fins) is used to identify individual whales, similar to a human fingerprint. Humpbacks are also know for their spectacular breaching displays ... launching themselves almost entirely out of the water ... and for the males' fascinating "songs."
Dungeness Crabs in Long Island Sound
In Summer 2017, four Dungeness Crabs (native to the North Pacific) were found in Long Island Sound by local fishermen.
Common Name: Dungeness Crab
Latin Name: Metacarcinus Magister or Cancer Magister
Size/weight: About 7.9 inches across and weights between 2 and 3 pounds.
Range: Dungeness Crabs are found in the Northern Pacific ocean, ranging from Central California to The Gulf of Alaska.
Habitat: Dungeness crabs prefer to reside in the muddy or sandy bottoms of salt water.
Diet: Clams or other crustaceans and small fish
Predators: Main predators include other crab species, halibut, dogfish, octopus and sea otters.