Another of the humpback whale’s showy surface behaviors is a powerful move known as a peduncle throw. The peduncle of a whale is the muscular area where the tail fluke connects to the body. In a peduncle throw the whale throws its tail sideways, slamming into the water with a huge splash.
It’s generally regarded as an aggressive or defensive action. We may see the move in a competitive rowdy group, or from a female fending off unwanted advances from an undesirable escort. Between mothers and a calves peduncle throws seem to be used as a form of discipline (akin to a whale spanking) or to ward off a threat to the calf. Sometimes though we see two whales performing throws together and, much like breaching, it might just simply be for fun.