Right Whale (Caperea marginata)
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Taxonomic name: Caperea marginata
Pygmy Right Whales belong to the Neobalaenidae family, separate to the true Right Whales.
These are the smallest of all baleen whales growing to 6.5 meters with
females, as with all the Balaenidae family, being larger than males. No
newborn calves or foetuses have been recorded so birth length is unknown.
Pygmy Right Whales are only found in the southern hemisphere in all temperate
oceans with water temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius. Their low profile,
insignificant blow, short surface period, low population numbers and secretive
nature make them a very difficult animal to observe. They inhabit both
open ocean and shallow bays being more populous in waters off Tasmania,
Australia. Their sleek body shape and small dorsal fin may make observers
mistake them for Minke Whales.
The Pygmy Right Whale (Caperea marginata) has attributes of both Right
Whales and Rorquals with a dorsal fin, narrow pectoral fins and rudimentary
throat grooves but with the curved mouth of right whales. They are dark
grey with a white or pale belly colouration which extends along the throat
to the tip of the lower jaw. Like the similar shaped (at least superficially) Minke Whale the Pygmy Right Whale at times pushes
its chin above the surface showing a flash of the white chin. When swimming
it uses its entire body to undulate through the water.