North Atlantic Proper Whale Information & Photos


The North Atlantic Proper Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is a critically endangered baleen whale species. On this web page is an entire information to this huge marine mammal…

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North Atlantic Proper Whale Information

North Atlantic Right Whale
Particular person North Atlantic proper whales will be recognized by the white patches on their heads.
  • The North Atlantic proper whale, like different baleen whales, is a filter feeder, separating meals from the water with the comb-like baleen plates in its mouth.
  • The closest land-living relative of the North Atlantic proper whale (and all cetaceans) is the hippo.
  • The North Atlantic proper whale is likely one of the most endangered of all whales with an estimated grownup inhabitants consisting of simply 250 people.
  • The North Atlantic proper whale is one among three proper whales. Till early within the 21st Century, they have been thought-about to be a single species.
  • Particular person North Atlantic proper whales will be recognized by the callosities (tough patches of pores and skin) on their heads, that are white in coloration as a result of presence of whale lice (small crustaceans that dwell on whales and different cetaceans).

What Is A North Atlantic Proper Whale?

North Atlantic Right Whale Blowing
The North Atlantic proper whale has a particular V-shaped spout

The North Atlantic proper whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is a big marine mammal belonging to the household Balaenidae. It’s one among three species of proper whales, probably named so by whalers who thought-about them the “proper” whales to hunt because of their gradual speeds, tendency to drift when useless, and copious quantities of oil and baleen.

North Atlantic proper whales inhabit the North Atlantic Ocean, typically discovered alongside the coastal waters of the japanese United States and Canada. Throughout winter, they migrate to calving grounds within the southeastern United States.

The species is characterised by its giant dimension, with adults sometimes reaching lengths of 13-16 meters (43-52 ft) and weights starting from 40,000 to 70,000 kilograms (88,185-154,324 lb). The whale has a sturdy, rotund physique, no dorsal fin, and a particular, V-shaped blowhole spray.

The North Atlantic proper whale primarily feeds by skimming the water for tiny crustaceans generally known as copepods, together with different small creatures. Regardless of its dimension, it’s identified for its acrobatic habits, typically breaching and slapping the water with its tail fluke.

Whale searching decimated the North Atlantic proper whale inhabitants and the species has by no means recovered. It’s at present (July ’23) listed as Critically Endangered. One of many world’s most endangered whales, the North Atlantic proper whale is in peril of changing into extinct.

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North Atlantic Proper Whale Statistics

  • Scientific Identify: Eubalaena glacialis
  • Order: Cetartiodactyla
  • Household: Balaenidae
  • Size: 13-16 meters (43-52 ft)
  • Weight: 40,000-70,000 kg (88,185-154,324 lb)
  • The place Discovered: North Atlantic Ocean, notably within the coastal waters off the japanese United States and Canada. Throughout the winter, they migrate to calving grounds within the southeastern United States.
  • IUCN Conservation Standing: Critically Endangered

What Does A North Atlantic Proper Whale Look Like?

North Atlantic Right Whale Illustration

The North Atlantic proper whale has a sturdy and rotund physique. It’s sometimes round 13-16 meters in size (43-52 ft), making it one of many bigger species of whales.

Its coloration is predominantly black, typically with white patches on the underside. A key attribute is the shortage of a dorsal fin, which distinguishes it from many different whale species. Its tail, or fluke, is extensive, easy, and black, and its pectoral (facet) flippers are comparatively lengthy and paddle-shaped.

One of many distinguishing options of North Atlantic proper whales is their callosities – tough, thickened patches of pores and skin, current on their heads, notably across the blowhole, eyes, and chin. These callosities are inhabited by small, whitish or cream-colored crustaceans referred to as cyamids or “whale lice,” making the callosities seem lighter in coloration than the encompassing pores and skin.

The North Atlantic proper whale has a broad, flat again and a big head that accounts for a couple of quarter of its whole physique size. Its mouth has a strongly arched, or bowed, jawline when seen from above or beneath, which is one other attribute function of the species.

The whale’s blowholes are configured in a particular V-shape, and when it exhales, the spout of mist and heat air can attain as much as 5 meters (16 ft) excessive.

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The North Atlantic proper whale is classed inside the infraorder Cetacea, a gaggle that features all of the world’s whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

This infraorder is a part of the order Artiodactyla (typically generally known as Cetartiodactyla), which additionally consists of land-living even-toed ungulates like deer, cows, and pigs.

Inside Cetacea, there are two main subgroups: Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales). The North Atlantic Proper Whale is classed inside the Mysticeti, characterised by the presence of baleen plates for filter feeding reasonably than enamel.

Throughout the Mysticeti, the precise whale belongs to the household Balaenidae, which is dwelling to 4 residing species: the three proper whales of genus Eubalaena, and the bow whale, the one residing member of the genus Balaena.

The opposite two species of proper whale are the North Pacific proper whale and the Southern proper whale.

Classification of the North Atlantic Proper Whale inside Cetacea

  • Order – Cetartiodactyla
  • Infraorder – Cetacea
  • Suborder – Mysticeti
  • Household – Balaenidae
  • Genus – Eubalaena
  • Species – Eubalaena glacialis

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Vary & Migration

North Atlantic Right Whale Head

The North Atlantic proper whale primarily inhabits the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a spread that spans from the subtropical waters to the subarctic waters.

Throughout the summer season and fall, North Atlantic proper whales are sometimes discovered feeding in areas off the japanese coast of Canada and the northeastern United States, notably within the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy.

Within the winter and early spring, these whales migrate to the hotter waters off the southeastern United States, the place they offer delivery and nurse their younger. The calving grounds are primarily situated off the coast of Florida and Georgia.

Regardless of its identify suggesting a North Atlantic distribution, the vary and motion patterns of the North Atlantic proper whale are extra restricted within the modern-day because of important inhabitants declines. The species has been sighted much less often in some historic habitats, such because the waters off Iceland and Norway.

The North Atlantic proper whale typically prefers coastal and shelf waters, however its actual distribution can fluctuate from yr to yr, influenced by the supply of its most popular prey, amongst different elements.

Food plan & Looking

North Atlantic Right Whale At Surface

The North Atlantic proper whale primarily feeds on small marine organisms generally known as zooplankton, notably tiny crustaceans referred to as copepods, and to a lesser extent, krill.

Copepods are minute invertebrates that float freely or drift in ocean waters, forming a significant a part of the marine meals chain. They’re wealthy in power, which makes them a helpful meals supply for the whales.

North Atlantic proper whales are baleen whales, that means they’ve a system of baleen plates of their mouths as an alternative of enamel. They feed by a course of referred to as skim feeding, swimming slowly with their mouths open at or simply beneath the water’s floor, filtering meals from the water because it enters their mouths. The baleen plates entice the prey inside, whereas the water is expelled again out.

Though they devour thousands and thousands of those tiny creatures every single day, North Atlantic proper whales sometimes feed intensively solely throughout sure seasons or in sure areas the place copepod densities are excessive. As such, their feeding habits will be influenced by the seasonal and geographic distribution of their prey.

North Atlantic Proper Whale Life Cycle

North Atlantic Right Whale with Calf

Feminine North Atlantic proper whales give delivery to a single calf, normally within the winter months, after a gestation interval of about one yr. The species’ birthing and nursing grounds are sometimes situated in hotter, shallower coastal waters off the southeastern United States, particularly off Florida and Georgia.

The calves, measuring about 4-6 meters lengthy at delivery, stay with their moms and are nursed for a couple of yr, throughout which they develop quickly, gaining important weight and dimension. Throughout this time, the mother-calf pairs typically keep separate from bigger teams of adults.

After weaning, juveniles develop extra slowly and progressively change into impartial. Sexual maturity is reached at round 10 years of age, although this will fluctuate.

As soon as mature, females are inclined to have a reproductive cycle that entails birthing a calf roughly each three to 5 years. This fee will be influenced by the whale’s well being, dietary standing, and environmental circumstances.

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Is The North Atlantic Proper Whale Endangered?

The North Atlantic proper whale is critically endangered, and, with a reducing inhabitants at present numbering within the low tons of, is in actual hazard of changing into extinct. The primary elements which have contributed to the whale’s critically endangered standing are listed beneath:

Historic Whaling: Proper whales have been probably named as a result of they have been the “proper” whales to hunt. They’re gradual swimmers, they float when killed, and so they yielded giant quantities of oil and baleen. In consequence, they have been closely focused by industrial whalers from the seventeenth century till the early twentieth century, inflicting their populations to plummet.

Vessel Strikes: At this time, some of the frequent causes of dying for North Atlantic Proper Whales is being struck by giant ships. Their choice for coastal habitats and their gradual swimming pace make them notably susceptible to this risk.

Entanglement in Fishing Gear: Entanglement in industrial fishing gear, notably lobster and crab pot traces, is one other important reason for damage and dying for these whales. Entanglements could cause severe damage, long-term well being impacts, and infrequently, a gradual and painful dying.

Habitat Degradation: Human actions reminiscent of coastal improvement and air pollution can degrade the whales’ habitats, impacting their entry to meals assets and secure areas for calving.

Local weather Change: Modifications in sea temperature and different oceanographic circumstances pushed by local weather change can have an effect on the distribution and abundance of the whales’ main meals supply, copepods. This may result in modifications within the whales’ feeding and migration patterns, doubtlessly placing them at higher threat from different threats.

Low Reproductive Price: Proper whales have a gradual reproductive fee which makes it troublesome for the inhabitants to get better from these threats. Females give delivery to a single calf after a year-long gestation interval after which spend a number of years nursing and caring for the calf earlier than they reproduce once more.


The present North Atlantic proper whale inhabitants is estimated to include between 200 and 250 mature people, and is considered declining.


The North Atlantic proper whale has few pure predators because of its giant dimension. Nevertheless, there have been occasional studies of killer whales (orcas) attacking proper whales, notably calves or younger juveniles. Moreover, bigger sharks may pose a possible risk to younger whales or weakened adults.

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