Pygmy right whale

Body Length: 4 - 6.5 meters (13.1 - 21.3 feet)
Mass: 3,000 - 3,500 kg (6,614 - 7716 lbs)

The Pygmy Right Whale (Caperea marginata) is a baleen whale and is the only member of the Neobalaenidae family. It is the smallest of the baleen whales, was first described in 1846, and has more in common with the Gray Whale than a Right Whale despite its name. The Right Whale is found in the Southern Ocean (Antarctic Ocean) in the Southern Hemisphere and is thought to be circumpolar. The circumpolar band in which it lives is 30°S to 50°S in waters ranging from 5 to 20 degrees Celsius at the surface. Pygmy Right Whales have been found in Tierra del Fuego (archipelago off the southernmost tip of South America), Namibia, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It is also thought that one group of whales may be a year-round resident off Tasmania. The population of the Pygmy Right Whale is unknown.

The coloration of the Pygmy Right Whale is characterized by a dark grey dorsal side with a lighter grey ventral side, and having pectoral flippers of a darker tone than the whale’s sides. The head of the Pygmy Right Whale takes up a quarter of the animal’s total body length, and its throat has grooves that are caused by the mandibular ridges.
A pair of light, chevron-shaped patches behind the eyes is a characteristic it shares similarly with the Dwarf and Antarctic Minke Whales. The arched jawline of the Pygmy Right Whale is not as pronounced as other Right Whales and is one reason they are often mistaken as Minke Whales. The most effective way to distinguish a Pygmy Right Whale is the long, narrow cream-colored baleen plates and white gumline. Each side of the whale’s upper jaw contains 230 baleen plates that vary in length from a few centimeters to as long as 70 centimeters. The width of the baleen plates can be up to 10 centimeters with black/brown edges outlining the white of the baleen plate. It is thought that the baleen plates of the Pygmy Right Whale are tougher and more flexible than any other species. Pygmy Right Whales do not have callosities, which is a feature of true Right Whales. The whale’s dorsal-fin, located about three-quarters of the way along the back, is of a crescent shape, about 15cm tall, and will not be seen upon the whale surfacing, while the whale’s blow is small and indistinct. The swimming capabilities are of a slow, undulating nature but it is capable of burst of speed. Given the sparse encounters with the whale it is studied little and not much is known about the animal’s reproduction, but calves are born in the southern hemisphere’s spring months, September and October. Calves are thought to be 3 - 3.5 meters long when weaned, but lactation period and longevity is unknown.

Knowledge of the whale’s eating habits comes from analysis of the stomach contents of dead whales. The result of this analysis has shown a diet of copepods and euphausiids with copepods being small crustaceans, and euphausiids being krill.

Interesting Fact: The tongue of the Pygmy Right Whale is pure white and feathered at the tip.

Keywords: brown , red

The Pygmy right whale is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the pygmy right whale
A young / baby of a pygmy right whale is called a 'calf'. The females are called 'cow' and males 'bull'. A pygmy right whale group is called a 'gam, pod or herd'.
Pygmy right whale habitats
Epipelagic (0-200m) and Marine Oceanic

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