The Northern and Southern Right Whales
Roger S. Payne
The Northern and Southern Right Whales , or Eubalaena glacialis and Eubalaena australis
are also known as the North Atlantic / Pacific Right Whale, Black Right Whale, Biscayan Right Whale,
or Nordcaper. Northern and Southern Right Whales can reach a length of 15 to 18 meters
with females being larger than the males. They can weigh between 50 and 90
tons. They have between 220 and 260 long narrow baleen plates in each side of their upper jaw. The baleen is usually dark brown, dark gray or black but may be pale gray or white.
The northern and southern hemispheric species form identical on the outside.
Northern and Southern Right Whales are usually black in color but are occasionally brown.
Their color is mottled, with white patches on their chin and belly. The area
around their blowholes, head and jaws characteristically have several large white, gray or
yellowish skin callosities, which are sometimes infected with parasites. They have numerous
hairs on their chin and upper jaw. Northern and Southern Right Whales have a large head that
takes up 30 percent of the length of their body,
widely seperate, giving a bushy V-shaped blow which can typically be seen every minute during
surface cruising for 5 to 10 minutes following a dive lasting 10 to 20 minutes and sometimes longer.
They have long broad flippers with an angular outer edge, they do not have a dorsal fin
or ridge, but a broad tail flukes that are deeply notched with concave trailing edge, that
are often lifted into the air before they dive.
Northern Right Whales can be found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, which ranges from
Southern Greenland and Spitsbergen south to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Azores and Northwest
Africa in Atlantic; and Kamchatka and The Gulf of Alaska south to Taiwan and the Gulf of
California in the Pacific.
Southern Right Whales are found from Brazil and South Africa south to Tristan da Cunha,
Patagonia and South Georgia in Atlantic / Southern Oceans; and from Australia and Chile south
to Auckland and Chatham Islands and elsewhere in subartic waters. They are also found south of the Indian
Ocean, and recorded around Kerguelen and Crozet Islands. They have seasonal mirgation
patterns but not sharply differentiated areas for mating / calving and feeding grounds.
Present estimated population size for the Northern Right Whale is at 200 to 500 in the North
Pacific and a questionable 200 to 500 in the North Atlantic.
Present estimated population size for the Southern Right Whale is at 3,000 possibly
up to 5,000.
Present coastal concentrations include Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Cape Cod (in northern
summers) where feeding and mating take place, and Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia (in southern winter)
where calving and mating occur.
Andrea Vanessa & Erica @ the Advanced Technologies Academy