Majestic cetaceans that can take to the air, aiwhas can be found in the churning oceans of the planet Kamino, where they have been domesticated as mounts by the native Kaminoans. The creatures are strong swimmers, able to launch themselves from the cresting waves and then continue their momentum in flight.
Aiwhas and similar creatures can be found on several worlds, including the planet Naboo. There, they live in medium-size "pods," feeding on surface-dwelling krill and the fishes found in the huge Naboo lakes. Like other cetaceans, aiwhas filter food through the sieve-plates in their baleen. The Gungans of Naboo have domesticated aiwhas to accept mounts and provide airborne transportation.
Aiwhas employ a water-vascular system that allows them to control their relative density. When they need to swim underwater, their spongy tissues absorb water. When flight is required, they expel this water and shed it to lighten themselves.
While some believe the aiwhas on Kamino to have been imported from Naboo, others speculate that this particular breed was entirely the result of cloning technology.
The aiwhas have existed, in one form or another, for over 20 years but they've only recently been incorporated into a Star Wars movie. Concept illustrator Ralph McQuarrie drew flying whales to populate Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back, but they were a casualty of budget and effects limitations. They resurfaced as transports in Return of the Jedi, but were ultimately replaced with the more practical sail barge and skiffs. For The Phantom Menace, the aiwhas (a deliberate corruption of "air whales") returned as Gungan mounts, but were again dropped from the finished film. For Episode II, they were also to be possible mounts for the Geonosians before finally finding a home on Kamino.