Northern right whale
Right whales are named as such because whalers considered them the right whales to hunt.
Status uncertain - possibly a subspecies.
Northern right whales can reach lengths of up to 18m, weighing 30-80 tonnes. Their very large heads can make up a third of the body length.
They are dark grey or black and may have irregular white patches on their undersides. They are often covered in barnacles and callosities and have a rounded body and arched mouth-line. They lack a dorsal fin.
Northern right whales inhabit the Northern Hemisphere, in temperate and sub-polar regions.
Northern right whales feed mainly on small crustaceans.
They live singly or in groups of 3-4 individuals
Mating and birthing takes place in the warmer waters in the spring. Northern right whales breed slowly - only every 3-4 years. They reach sexual maturity only after 5-10 years.
Northern right whales are classified as Endangered by the 2000 IUCN Red List. They were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s, and although protected since 1937, they are now considered to be the most endangered large whale. They are named right whales because whalers considered them the right whales to hunt.