H858, a.k.a. “Queen”

Humpback Whale

ligne décoration
H858, 16 juillet 2020 © Stéphane Pagès
  • ID number


  • Sex


  • Year of birth

    Winter 2016-2017

  • Known Since


Distinctive traits

The tail of H858 is predominantly white with a black line in the right lobe. It also has a white line on the dorsal side of the tail.

H858 montre la queue. © GREMM
© Stéphane Pagès

Its story

Much remains to be learned about the humpback whale H858. It was first seen in 2017 in Gaspé with its mother H489 by researchers from the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS). It was a young calf at the time, having been born the previous winter in the warm waters of the South. Since then, it seems to have adopted the St. Lawrence: it was observed again here in 2018 and 2019. In the summer of 2020, it was seen in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park together with a well known humpback, Tic Tac Toe. Temporary associations between humpback whales are frequent in their feeding grounds.

Why does this individual’s companion have a name while H858 does not? An alphanumeric code is given to whales by scientists for ID purposes, but the animals are not systematically given names. In order to earn a nickname, they have to be unique, whether through recurring visits or a distinctive feature such as the X on Tic Tac Toe’s tail. Even if the moniker is not yet official, the young whale H858 is already referred to as “Queen” by captains/naturalists on account of the white crown that adorns the top of its tail.

Will this humpback follow in Tic Tac Toe’s wake and inherit its own reputation over the years? With a life expectancy of around 80 years, it still has plenty of time to surprise us…

Observations history in the Estuary


Years in which the animal was not observed Years in which the animal was observed