North Atlantic Proper Whale Info & Footage

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 Info

North Atlantic Right Whale
Particular person North Atlantic proper whales may 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 in all three proper whales. Till early within the 21st Century, they have been thought of to be a single species.
  • Particular person North Atlantic proper whales may be recognized by the callosities (tough patches of pores and skin) on their heads, that are white in shade because of the presence of whale lice (small crustaceans that stay 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 in all three species of proper whales, presumably named so by whalers who thought of them the “proper” whales to hunt as a result of their gradual speeds, tendency to drift when lifeless, and copious quantities of oil and baleen.

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

The species is characterised by its giant measurement, 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 strong, 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 often known as copepods, together with different small creatures. Regardless of its measurement, 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 at risk of turning into extinct.

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North Atlantic Proper Whale Statistics

  • Scientific Title: 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, significantly within the coastal waters off the jap United States and Canada. In the course of 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 strong 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 shade is predominantly black, typically with white patches on the underside. A key attribute is the dearth of a dorsal fin, which distinguishes it from many different whale species. Its tail, or fluke, is broad, clean, 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, significantly across the blowhole, eyes, and chin. These callosities are inhabited by small, whitish or cream-colored crustaceans known as cyamids or “whale lice,” making the callosities seem lighter in shade than the encircling pores and skin.

The North Atlantic proper whale has a broad, flat again and a big head that accounts for a few quarter of its complete physique size. Its mouth has a strongly arched, or bowed, jawline when considered from above or under, 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 throughout the infraorder Cetacea, a bunch that features all of the world’s whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

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

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

Throughout the Mysticeti, the suitable 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 variety that spans from the subtropical waters to the subarctic waters.

In the course of the summer season and fall, North Atlantic proper whales are sometimes discovered feeding in areas off the jap coast of Canada and the northeastern United States, significantly 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 positioned 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 as a result of important inhabitants declines. The species has been sighted much less incessantly 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 precise distribution can fluctuate from 12 months to 12 months, influenced by the provision of its most popular prey, amongst different components.

Eating regimen & Looking

North Atlantic Right Whale At Surface

The North Atlantic proper whale primarily feeds on small marine organisms often known as zooplankton, significantly tiny crustaceans known 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 worthwhile meals supply for the whales.

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

Though they eat tens of millions of those tiny creatures on daily basis, 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 may 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, often within the winter months, after a gestation interval of about one 12 months. The species’ birthing and nursing grounds are sometimes positioned 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 few 12 months, throughout which they develop quickly, gaining important weight and measurement. Throughout this time, the mother-calf pairs typically keep separate from bigger teams of adults.

After weaning, juveniles develop extra slowly and progressively turn out to be unbiased. Sexual maturity is reached at round 10 years of age, although this may 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 may be influenced by the whale’s well being, dietary standing, and environmental situations.

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Is The North Atlantic Proper Whale Endangered?

The North Atlantic proper whale is critically endangered, and, with a lowering inhabitants at present numbering within the low a whole bunch, is in actual hazard of turning into extinct. The primary components which have contributed to the whale’s critically endangered standing are listed under:

Historic Whaling: Proper whales have been presumably named as a result of they have been the “proper” whales to hunt. They’re gradual swimmers, they float when killed, they usually 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, probably the most widespread causes of dying for North Atlantic Proper Whales is being struck by giant ships. Their choice for coastal habitats and their gradual swimming velocity make them significantly weak to this menace.

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

Habitat Degradation: Human actions similar to coastal growth and air pollution can degrade the whales’ habitats, impacting their entry to meals assets and protected areas for calving.

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

Low Reproductive Charge: Proper whales have a gradual reproductive fee which makes it troublesome for the inhabitants to get well 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 encompass between 200 and 250 mature people, and is regarded as declining.


The North Atlantic proper whale has few pure predators as a result of its giant measurement. Nonetheless, there have been occasional stories of killer whales (orcas) attacking proper whales, significantly calves or younger juveniles. Moreover, bigger sharks might also pose a possible menace to younger whales or weakened adults.

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