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North Pacific Right Whale


Scientific Name:
Eubalaena japonica
Length:
13.7 - 16.7 m (45 - 55 ft)
Weight:
63500 kg (140000 lbs)
Status:
edangered
Prey:
Zooplankton, copepods, euphausiids and cyprids

Physical characteristics

Has a stocky body, that is usually black. Some individuals have white patches on the underside. Has no dorsal fin. The head has about 1/4 of the body length. Has a strongly bowed margin of the lower lip and callosities on the head.

Behavioral characterization

Are skimmers: feed by removing prey from the water using their baleens while moving through plankton with open mouthes.

Distribution

Pacific Ocean, between 20° and 60° latitude

Population size

200 - 300

Predators

N/A

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Unclear: some migrate to higher latitudes during spring and summer, some do not migrate at all.

Social system/Group size

Observed in small groups.

Major threats

Ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

Research efforts

NMFS "Draft North Pacific Right Whale Recovery Plan"

Fun fact

They were named by whalers: they thought these whales were the right species to kill because they were so slow swimmers.