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Right whales (genus Eubalaena) are baleen whales that were named by whalers who considered them the "right" whales to hunt, since they were rich in blubber, they were easy to catch (they are relatively slow swimmers), and they floated after being killed.

Anatomy:The Right whale is a baleen whale with a large, bow-shaped head and an arched mouth. Right whales are rich in blubber (a subcutaneous layer of fat). The head is hairier than most whales; up to 300 hairs are found on the tip of the lower jaw and 100 are on the upper jaw. There are also callosities (a series of horny growths) behind the blowhole, on the chin, above the eyes, on the lower lip, and on the rostrum (the beak-like upper jaw). Right whales are similar to bowhead whales, but smaller. The eyes are very small, the lips are large, and there are 2 blowholes. They have no dorsal fin and no throat grooves.

Size: Northern right whale females grow to be about 50 feet (15.2 m) long, males are about 49 feet (15 m) long. They weigh approximately 120,000 pounds (54,000 kg). Southern right whale females are about 54 feet (16.5 m) long, males are about 50 feet (15.2 m) long. The females are slightly larger than males, as with all baleen whales.

Diet: Right whales (like all baleen whales) are seasonal feeders. These carnivores (meat-eaters) filter feed plankton and tiny crustaceans like copepods, krill, pteropods, etc., from the water. Right whales are skimmers, filter feeders that swim slowly with their mouth open, constantly eating. On occasion, they are also bottom feeders, eating benthic prey from the mud on the ocean floor. The fine baleen hairs can filter very tiny prey including copepods, steropods, euphasiids and mysids (tiny crustaceans).

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