1. Estimates of sexual maturity in baleen whales range from 3 to 10 years depending on the species. This information is not known for all species.
2. Sexual maturity is often reached at a particular body size and is reported as length. For example, Bryde's whales are sexually mature when they reach about 12 m (40 ft.).
3. Female baleen whales probably come into estrus (the period of sexual receptivity) once a year, but if conception fails to occur, they may come into estrus a second time.
4. Males display a seasonal reproductive cycle which correlates with a winter estrus in
1. In right, bowhead, and gray whales, breeding behavior includes several males and one female.
a. Breeding groups may engage in pre-mating activity for more than an hour.
b. The female may allow the largest and most aggressive male to mate with her, or she may flee or roll away.
c. A female may mate with more than one male in a single breeding season.
2. Right and rorqual whales engage in aggressive breeding activity that includes males fighting with each other to gain access to a female. Battles result in males ramming and sometimes wounding each other. Females may mate with just one winning male.
3. Male humpback whales are famous for their songs in the mating grounds. Such vocalizations may be a method for attracting females. See Sound production for more information.
Birth and Care of Young
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
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