Balaena glacialis   (Mueller,  1776) (Whale)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Size: The males are smaller than the females, which grow up to 18 m in length.

Weight: 40-80 tons, possibly even up to 100 tons.

Color: The skin is black or occasionally brown in color, sometimes with white patches on the chin and belly. The patch on the underside has given the animal the nickname ‘white belly’.

Black Right Whales have a round body tapering to a narrow tail. The girth of the body may be as high as 60 percent of the body length. The head is massive, constitutes one fourth or more of the body length. The long snout is covered by bowed lower lips on either side. There are numerous hairs on the chin and upper jaw. A series of areas of white horny growth called callosities is found on the snout, chin, sides of the head, the lower lips, above the eyes, and the sides of the two blowholes. This area is known as the bonnet. The callosities often appear white, yellowish, pinkish or orange on account of whale lice-crustaceans - that live on them. Occasionally, barnacles attach themselves to the bonnet.

Like the other members of the family Balaenidae, the Black Right Whale has no fin or ridge on the back. It also lacks throat grooves. The flippers are large and broad. The tail flukes have a concave rear edge and a deep notch between them.The baleen plates are narrow and up to 2.8 m long, numbering 220-260 on each side of the upper jaw. They may be dark brownish, dark grey or black, but some plates in front may be white. The baleen plates are fringed by long, fine, grayish bristles. The blow is a bushy and V-shaped spout, up to 5 m high.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Biscayan Right Whale
• Black Right Whale
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Coastal
Prey:  Copepods, Krills


• Gujarat INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -

Page last updated on:2010-07-22

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