Southern Rightwhale Dolphin

The Southern Rightwhale Dolphin is also known as the "mealy-mouthed porpoise", is classified as an odontocete, (toothed whale, dolphin or porpoise). These particular mammals are the only dolphins in the Southern Hemisphere without a Dorsal Fin. They are black on their upper bodies and white underneath. The beaks of these dolphins are small and distinct with 43 to 49 teeth in both the upper and lower jaw. Their flippers are mainly white, small and noticebly curved. The tail or fluke on the Southern Rightwhale Dolphin is small with a notch in the middle. This dolphin has a slim body which allows them to be fast and graceful swimmers.

The Southern Rightwhale Dolphins are smaller than the Northern Rightwhale dolphins with an adult weight between 130-220lbs and an adult length between 6 to 9.6 feet. The adult female Southern Rightwhale is typically longer than the adult male. Newborn calves, which are born brown or dark grey in color, changing within the first year of life to adult coloring, is 32 to 39 inches in lenght, while the birth weight is not known.

The Southern Rightwhale Dolphins live in groups of 2-1000 and have even been reported to have up to 3000 together in a pod. This dolphin species are often spotted together with the Hourglass Dolphins, Dusky Dolphins and Pilot Whales in cool, deep offshore waters with temperatures of 1 to 20 degrees celcius. Southern Rightwhale Dolphins have a diet of fish, squid and octopus. The favorite seems to be the Lantern Fish.

Southern Rightwhale Dolphins are very graceful swimmers and move most often by leaping out of the water continuously. They are not known to approach boats or humans very often but have been seen bow-riding rarely.

This particular breed of dolphins are threatned by humans along the Coasts of Peru and Chile, where they are used for human consumption and crab bait. They are also threatned by driftnets used by fisherman around the Coasts of Chile, Peru and Southern Africa.

The Southern Rightwhale Dolphins are a poorly known species. This dolphin species seems to be threatned mainly by fisheries in Chilean waters and the waters of South Africa but there aren't any population estimates. This makes it difficult to know the exact number of their population and whether it is increasing or decreasing.