Right whale dolphin
|Right whale dolphin|
| Northern right whale dolphin|
|Species|| L. borealis|
Right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis sp.) refers to two species of dolphin of the family Delphinidae, and found in cold to warm waters of the northern and southern Pacific, and southern Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The right whale dolphin is a small cetacean, with a length of 7.2 to 8.1 feet, and weighs up to 220 pounds. Females are slightly smaller than males. The appearance is that of a full-bodied dolphin in front, tapering to a thin tail with a small fluke. Two species are recognized:
- Northern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis
- Southern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii
The northern species is slightly-smaller than the southern species; it is predominately black in color, with a thin white belly stripe from chest to tail, with the largest amount of white extending upwards from the chest to the front flippers. The white area in the southern species is more extensive, covering about half of the body, including the head, flippers, and flanks.
Both species lack a dorsal fin, one of the very few cetaceans to have that distinction. It was that, plus the black coloration when seen at the surface, which gave them a very vague resemblance to right whales, hence the name.
The two species are on opposite sides of the globe. The northern species is found in the waters of the north Pacific Ocean, from the Kamchatka peninsula and northern Japan eastward to Canada and the United States, as far south as Baja California in Mexico. The southern species lives within the latitudes of about 40° to 55° south.
Both species are pelagic; if they are seen near coastlines they are within access to deep water. They are found in pods of 100 to 300 individuals, with some pods observed to be in excess of 3,000.