Southern Whales: Everything about these specimens

Southern whales are commonly known as southern right whales, their  scientific name is Eubalaena Australis. This species belongs to  the Balaenidae family of the southern hemisphere; they are mysticetes  cetaceans, thus they have beards which help them filter the plankton and krill.

southern whales : southern whale and calf in New Zealand


The body of the southern whales can measure between 13 and 15 meters in the case of males, and the females are usually bigger than males, reaching  a length of 16 meters. These specimens, measure between 3 to 5 meters,  when they are born.  Once they become adults their weight is about 40 tons.

The calluses on the skin of southern whales, is another of their characteristics; which usually reach up to 5 centimeters. These calluses are different  for each individual, but it should be noted that they do not change during their growth; so  this can be considered as the fingerprint of the southern whales, since they usually identify each individual throughout its life.

In relation to the above, these callosities are located in most cases  in the jaw and on   the lower li; sometimes over the eyes and even behind their face. Each whale has a callus of greater relevance, which is called «bonnet» and is located on  the tip of the  mouth of this creature.

On the other hand,  there are about 260 corneal beards inside their  mouth;  held by the upper jaw, which are named as «baleen».  These beards usually measure 2.50 meters long, and they perform a  filtering function, improving the quality of the food; so that they can remove everything that is not krill when they ingest large quantities into their mouths. The same goes for the minke whale  species.

In addition, another peculiarity of this species is that males have the largest sexual organs within the Animal Kingdom, each testicle reaches 525 kg in weight, representing almost 1% of their total  weight. So their testicles ,are even bigger than those of the blue whale; which is  considered as the largest whale.

Alimentation Habits of Southern Whales

As in the case of other whales, the southern whales species;  base their diet from feeding on small fish, mainly on krill. They sometimes can also eat small crustaceans, larvae and other tiny organisms. They don´t have a specific hunting strategy; since the animals they consume, are usually  those who get carried away by  water currents and do not possess enough strength to swim against these waters flows .

Although krill is a tiny food, especially when comparing them with the large size of southern whales; big portions of these  animal provide the whales an excellent source of proteins, needed for their proper development. According to studies the whales can consume two tons of krill in a day., and  this diet is quite similar to that of blue whales. ( see article blue whales)

Habitats Of Southern Whales

This species inhabits areas that involve  the following oceans;

    • North Pacific,
    • North Atlantic,
    • Part of the South Atlantic,
    • South Indian
    • Part of the South Pacific.

It is important to note that there are two types of southern whales, and they are distinguished by their habitat, since some of them inhabit the northern hemisphere, and the others ones belong to the southern hemisphere. According to different researches , it is known that these species don´t  get  in contact,  since they are not able to cross the equator. Another important point is that also according to many studies, there are about 8000 southern whales, distributed in the areas previously  mentioned. In spite they mainly live in cold  waters, they tend to migrate to warm waters for reproducing; during  winter time. Only during the stage of reproduction, these whales can be found in  countries  such as  Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, and also in New Zealand.

Main Threats

Southern whales are also an  endangered species of whale.  The main reason is attributed to the hunting of these whales, since the hunters have big advantages for capturing them; because  these creatures are not usually very fast. In addition to this, the hunting of these whales is quite profitable;  since 7200 liters of oil can be extracted from a single animal captured.
Other problems that these creatures face, is the barnacle in whales, a plague that attacks them in the  calluses, located on their head

Finally, we recommend this video to learn more about these specimens..

Deja un comentario