Northern Right Whale
Eubalaena glacialis


Other Names: Right Whale, Biscayan Right Whale

Habitat: Inshore and occasionally offshore

Status: Endangered

Population: 300-600

Threats: Entanglement in fishing nets, human disturbance, and habitat destruction

Group Size: 1-3, more at feeding grounds

Fin Position: No fin

Newborns: 14 - 19 ft (4.5-6 m), 1 ton

Adults: 36-59 ft (11-18 m), 30-80 tons

Diet: Krill or other crustaceans

Baleen: 205-270 baleen plates on each side


Description

Flukes:

- dark upper sides and undersides of flukes
- smooth, concave trailing edges
- distinct notch in middle
- broad flukes pointed at tips

Flippers:

- large, spatulate flippers
- "finger" bones can be traced by prominent ridges

Head:

- dense but fine baleen bristles
- exceptionally long, narrow baleen plates

Head (from above):

- narrow rostrum
- paired blowholes widely separated

Calves:

- calves have few or no callosities
- body less rotund, even slender, in younger animals
- some calves born lighter in color and darken with age

Other characteristics:

- largest callosity on tip of rostrum (known as "bonnet")
- strongly arched mouth line
- finless back free of callosities
- narrow tail stock
- body uniformly black or dark brown, often mottled with brown, gray, or blue
- irregular white patches on belly (variable)
- extremely rotund body
- dark chin
- callosities (on head only)


Behavior

- slow, lumbering swimmers, but surprisingly acrobatic
- may be seen waving flippers above the surface, breaching, flipper-slapping, and lobtailing
- sometimes swim near the surface with mouths agape, showing baleen
- sometimes approachable
- playful and inquisitive: will poke, bump, and push objects in the water
- members of small groups may take turns to surface, with only a single animal visible at a time
- bellowing sounds and moans commonly heard in breeding areas, mostly at night
- rarely strand


Distribution

- cold waters of temperate and subpolar regions in both hemispheres
- small concentrations in the western North Atlantic: major feeding grounds are in the lower Bay of Fundy, near Grand Manan Island, Canada; Browns Bank, off the southern tip of Nova Scotia, Canada; and Cape Cod Bay; breeding grounds were recently found off Florida and Georgia
- may be a handful in the eastern North Atlantic
- very small numbers in the North Pacific



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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet