Southern Rightwhale Dolphin
Lissodelphis peronii


Other Names: Mealy-mouthed Porpoise

Habitat: Offshore and occasionally inshore

Status: Common

Population: Unknown

Threats: Hunting/whaling and entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 2-100

Fin Position: No fin

Newborns: c. 32-39 in (80 cm-1 m), Unknown weight

Adults: 6-9 ft (1.8-2.9 m), c.130-220 lbs. (60-100 kg)

Diet: Fish and squid or octopus

Teeth: 88-98 teeth on both top and bottom rows


Description

Flukes:

- white undersides
- concave trailing edges
- distinct notch in middle
- upper sides fade from pale gray or white to dark gray or black
- small flukes

Flippers:

- small, curved, predominately white flippers
- pointed tips
- flipper may have dark leading edge
- flipper may have dark trailing edge

Head:

- eyes located within dark area
- short, white beak
- clear demarcation between beak and forehead
- white forehead in front of blowhole

Other characteristics:

- slightly flattened body shape may provide stability in absence of dorsal fin
- jet black upper side may appear purplish brown at sea and can be gray in younger animals
- narrow tail stock
- slender body
- white undersides may be creamy white in younger animals
- sharp dividing line between black and white


Behavior

- graceful movements
- often travels very fast in a series of long, low leaps; overall impression is a bouncing motion rather like a fast-swimming penguin
- sometimes swims slowly, causing little disturbance of the water and exposing only a small part of its head and dark back when surfacing to breathe
- breaching (but with no twisting or turning in the air), belly-flopping, side-slapping, and lobtailing have been observed
- dives may last 6 minutes or more
- some schools will allow close approach, but others flee from boats
- small groups will bow-ride on a rare occasions
- often found in the company of Dusky Dolphins, Hourglass Dolphins, or pilot whales
- highly gregarious


Distribution

- deep, cold temperate waters of the southern hemisphere
- distribution poorly known, though appears to be circumpolar and fairly common throughout its range
- remains almost exclusively from north of the Antarctic Convergence
- frequently follows the cold Humboldt Current into subtropical latitudes, as far north as 19 S off northern Chile, though northernmost record is 12 S off Peru
- southernmost limit varies with sea temperatures from year to year
- seems to be fairly common in the Falkland Current between Patagonia and the Falkland Islands
- believed to occur across the southern Indian Ocean following the West-wind Drift
- seldom seen near land except in sufficiently deep water; however, known to occur in coastal waters off Chile and near New Zealand where water is deeper than 655 ft (200 m)



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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet