Southern right whale dolphin
By: Dagmar Fertl
Edited by: Poul Vendel
The Southern right whale dolphin gets its name from the Greek words "lisso"
and "delphis" meaning dolphin. Peronii is derived from F. Peron, a
French naturalist who observed the whales off Tasmania. The common name comes
from the right whale which also lacks a dorsal fin.
The most slender of all the cetaceans, the southern right whale dolphin, has
a striking appearance with black and white coloration. The white covers the
head and extends onto the sides including the flippers and the tail stock. It
also has a small, but distinct beak.
The Southern right whale dolphin reaches a length of at least 3 m and weighs
The location in Africa:
Southern right whale dolphins are found in offshore waters of South Africa (records are from
A small amount is known about the natural history of the Southern right whale
dolphin. It is found in
large schools and is frequently associtated with dusky dolphins and pilot
whales. Energetic, active swimmers, they often display aerial behaviors. They
feed primarily on myctophids (lanternfish) and squid.
Southern right whale dolphins were occasionally taken by whalers for meat,
but now may be vulnerable to capture in pelagic gillnet fisheries.