Facts about Southern right whales

Factfile


Scientific Name: Eubalaena australis
Family: Balaenidae
Range: Southern Atlantic, Indian, Pacific
Habitat: Coastal waters especially, but also oceanic
Status:
Vulnerable
Population:
Fewer than 8000 
Diet:
Crustaceans and zooplankton 
Length:
11-18m, females larger than males 
Weight:
55-88 tons


Identification


Flukes: Wide with a distinct notch in the middle, and may be raised high in the air. Narrow tail stock
Dorsal fin: Lacks a dorsal fin and other projections on the back
Flippers: Broad and black or dark brown
Shape of head: Broad head has an arched jaw and distinctive growths of rough skin called callosities
Body:
Stocky, most of the body is black or dark brown. Pale regions and some mottling on underside
Blow:
Two blowholes. V-shaped blow up to 5m (16ft) high
Group size:
Usually found singly , in pairs or in threes, with larger groups at good feeding grounds
Behaviour:
Slow swimmers but acrobatic at the surface. Breach, lobtail and flipper-slap. Can be inquisitive. May skim feed at surface, showing baleen. Sometimes “sail” along with flukes extended in the air
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