Greenland right whale

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Related to Greenland right whale: Balaena mysticetus

Greenland right whale:

see right whaleright whale,
name for whales of the family Balaenidae. They were so named by whalers, who for centuries considered them "the right whales" to hunt, because they float when killed and because they yield enormous quantities of oil and of baleen.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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