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.
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?