Northern Right Whale

From: Kim Marshall (kimm@oceanalliance.org)
Date: Sat Dec 21 2002 - 02:27:17 EST

  • Next message: Kim Marshall: "Pacific Whales"

    Question: I am doing a science report on the Northern Right Whale. Could
    you tell me what its scienitific name is? ( kingdom-order.ect.) Thankyou
    very much!

    Reply: Northern Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis)

    Northern right whales grow up to 56 feet in length and are mostly black with
    some white patches on their bellies. They have large heads (about one-fourth
    of their total length) with strongly arched jaws and wide bodies. Their
    spouts are "V"-shaped and they have no back fin. Light-colored, wart-like
    skin patches on their heads are called callosities.

    Right whales are currently found in the northern and southern hemispheres,
    including both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Alaska right whales feed in
    the northern waters of the Pacific Ocean during the summer and probably
    migrate to lower latitudes to calve during the winter. They eat small
    animals, called zooplankton, that in turn eat microscopic plants, called
    phytoplankton. Right whales swim through patches of zooplankton with their
    large mouths open. When the mouth is closed the water strains out through
    the sides. The zooplankton is caught on fringed baleen plates and swallowed.
    Baleen is located in the same place as our teeth, but is made of the same
    substance as fingernails. The especially long baleen of right whales
    provides more surface area for trapping tiny zooplankton than the shorter
    baleen of other kinds of whales that consume fish and larger zooplankton.

    Happy Holidays!

    Kim

    Kim Marshall
    Executive Director
    Ocean Alliance (Whale Conservation Inst. & the Voyage of the Odyssey)
    191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
    781.259.0423 ext. 14 fax 259.0288
    www.oceanalliance.org www.pbs.org/odyssey
    Please support our efforts to conserve whales and their ocean environment
    through research and education :)



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