right whale

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Related to right whale: Pygmy Right Whale, blue whale

right whale,

name for whaleswhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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 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. Baleen, or whalebone, is the substance forming the fringed, triangular plates that hang from the roof of the whale's mouth and serve as a filter for plankton. It commanded such a high price in the 19th cent. that baleen whales (right whales and rorquals) were nearly exterminated by hunting. Right whales are distinguished from rorquals by the lack both of a dorsal fin and of neck furrows. Their girth is great in proportion to their length, and they have two thick pectoral fins. The lower jaws are scooplike in shape; the upper jaws contain about 300 baleen plates.

The black right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is usually black all over; some individuals have white undersides. The female, larger than the male, averages 45 to 60 ft (14–18 m) in length. There is an irregularly shaped, horny growth, called the bonnet, above the snout. It has no known function, other than possible intraspecific aggression, and accumulates an immense conglomeration of parasites. There are three subspecies of black right whales, inhabiting the N Atlantic and N Pacific oceans and the Southern Hemisphere, respectively. The northern populations travel to the equator in winter, breeding on their way back to the poles. The bowhead, Greenland, or Arctic right whale (Balaena mysticetus) remains near the ice front all year, following its seasonal advances and recessions. It is black with a white chin and often a white tail band; there is a bump on top of the head. Its baleen plates grow up to 13 ft (4 m) long, and it produces large quantities of oil. The 20-foot-long (6-m) pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is found in the waters of Australia and New Zealand. (Some authorities place it in a separate family, Neobalaenidae.) All three species are rare and endangered. Right whales are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Cetacea, family Balaenidae.

Right Whale


(Eubalaena glacialis), a mammal of the family Balaenidae. The right whale may reach a length of 20 m and a weight of 100 tons. The edge of the lower jaw has scalloped protuberances. On the upper jaw there is a horny growth with “bonnets” formed from masses of cirripeds. The plates of the baleen, which are dark in color, may measure 2.6 m in length and number as many as 260 on each half of the upper jaw. The body is black, sometimes with white markings.

The right whale embraces three subspecies: the Biscayan (in northern temperate waters of the Atlantic), Japanese (in northern temperate waters of the Pacific), and Australian (in temperate waters of the southern hemisphere). The right whale feeds on small crustaceans. The young are born in winter and measure 4.5–6 m in length. Hunting of the right whale is prohibited.

right whale

any large whalebone whale of the family Balaenidae. They are grey or black, have a large head, and, in most, no dorsal fin, and are hunted as a source of whalebone and oil
References in periodicals archive ?
The North Atlantic right whales may soon become extinct as no new births have been recorded, experts have warned.
Listening to Zack Klyver describe North Atlantic right whales, it's clear how much the veteran naturalist holds them in awe.
On 24 July 2008, a newborn southern right whale was found dead (GEMARS 1304) at Balneario Quintao (30[degrees]19'S, 50[degrees]16'W), on the northern coast of Rio Grande do Sul (RS).
Since 1999, provisions of the MSR have required ships weighing 300 gross tons (gt) or greater to report their location, speed, and destination to a shore-based station when entering key right whale nursery and feeding areas off the U.
Sperm Whales occupy primarily offshore deep waters (over 1000-m depth) off Washington, Oregon, and California (Barlow and others 2010; Carretta and others 2012), while Risso's Dolphins and Northern Right Whale Dolphins are closely tied to continental shelf and slope waters (Leatherwood and Walker 1979; Dohl and others 1980, 1983; Carretta and others 2012).
Record of mother-calf pair of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) off the coast of Lima, Peru
Stone, an author, educator, and artist, tells the story of a North Atlantic right whale, inspired by a female whale named Arpeggio chronicled in the New England Aquarium North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog and the people who worked to protect her threatened migration routes along the eastern US and her calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.
Commuters in Sydney were treated to a rare sight on Tuesday morning as a Southern Right Whale and its calf were spotted swimming together near the city's harbour.
The first female right whale of the season was seen this month off the coast of the southeastern U.
In spite of being aware of these great differences from personal observation, sailor Melville continues to group the sperm whale and the right whale together in his suborder "The Folio Whale" based on size alone.
The south right whale (so-called by whalers because they were the 'right' whales to hunt) was amazing.

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