Greenland Right Whale

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Greenland Right Whale


(Balaena mysticetus), a mammal of the suborder of whalebone whales Mystacoceti.

The length of the Greenland right whale reaches 21m. The body is short and thick. The head is huge (up to one-third of the body length), with the arc-like curve of the mouth slit directed sharply upward. The belly and throat are smooth, without folds (bands). As many as 300–400 pliable black whalebone plates (to 4.5 m high) are dependent from each of the right and left sides of the very high oral cavity. There is no dorsal fin. The top and sides of the body are dark gray or black; the throat and sometimes the abdomen are light in color.

While the Greenland whale was once common in all the seas of the arctic, today it is only rarely encountered in the Chukchi and Bering seas. It lives in areas of sparse ice or at the ice edge. It eats small calanid copepods and pteropods. A single calf (four or five meters long) is born between February and May. Hunting of the Greenland whale was outlawed by an international convention in 1946.


Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Moscow, 1957. (Zveri SSSR i prile-zhashchikh stran, vol. 9.)


References in classic literature ?
It is the Greenland whale you have hunted up to this time, and that would not risk passing through the warm waters of the equator.
These creatures are generally much smaller than the Greenland whale.
In destroying the southern whale (like the Greenland whale, an inoffensive creature), your traders do a culpable action, Master Land.
What would become of a Greenland whale, say, in those shuddering, icy seas of the north, if unsupplied with his cosy surtout?
8] If we suppose the case of the discovery of a skeleton of a Greenland whale in a fossil state, not a single cetaceous animal being known to exist, what naturalist would have ventured conjecture on the possibility of a carcass so gigantic being supported on the minute crustacea and mollusca living in the frozen seas of the extreme North?
Greenland whales were considered too rare to warrant dedicated field studies, and little was known about them until the oil and gas industry began funding surveys in the mid-1970s (McLaren Marex Inc.
finmarchicus (Mayo and M arx, 1994; Goodyear, 1996), Greenland whales apparently specialize in feeding on the mature stages of C.
The history and status of Greenland whales have many similarities with those of the North Atlantic right whale, an endangered species that numbers around 300 (IWC, 2000b).
One of the longest-living mammals, the Greenland whale or bowhead (Balaena mysticetus) is specialized to filter small crustaceans, especially Calanus copepods, from barren Arctic seas.
Key words: Greenland whale, bowhead whale, Balaena mnysticetus, biology, conservation, management, traditional knowledge
Clearly, by these criteria and the example of the right whale, the precautionary principle can only mean complete protection for the Greenland whale until it reaches an optimal level that allows a sustainable take.
Although the Greenland whale has long been recognized by COSEWIC as an endangered species, it has no legal protection as such and there are no clearly stated management goals for its recovery.