Subject: Re: Right Whales

Daniel K. Odell (
Sat, 8 Feb 1997 10:40:13 -0500 (EST)

Dear John:

Even scientists can't quite agree on whether the northern and southern
right whales are subspecies or separate species.
The most recent literature lists the northern right whale as Eubalaena
glacialis and the southern right whale as Eubalaena australis.

Older literature may call them Balaena glacialis and Balaena australis,
respectively.  In some cases the southern right whale was called Balaena
glacialis australis!

Externally, northern and southern right whales look alike but I'm sure
that there are minor differences.  I haven't seen any recent DNA studies.

Given the size of right whales - 17 m long and weighing 80-100 tons - it
would be very difficult to move one between hemispheres.

Dan Odell
Sea World

On Fri, 7 Feb 1997, John F. Kenney wrote:

> Hi Dan!
> What's the difference between a northern and a southern right whale?  
> Are they the same species, and if so, 
> could one be transplanted from north to south?  
> Thanks, 
> John