The southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is a baleen whale, one of three species classified as right whales. Like other right whales, the southern right whale is readily distinguished from others by the callosites on its head, a broad back without a dorsal fin, and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye. Its skin is very dark grey or black, occasionally with some white patches on the belly. The right whale’s callosities appear white due to large colonies of cyamids (white lice). Approximately 10,000 southern right whales are spread throughout the southern part of the Southern Hemisphere.
The maximum size of an adult female is 15 m and can weigh up to 47 tonnes. The testicles of right whales are likely to be the largest of any animal, each weighing around 500 kg (1,100 lb). This suggests that sperm competitionis important in the mating process.Right whales cannot cross the warm equatorial waters to connect with the other (sub)species and (inter)breed: their thick layers of insulating blubbermake it impossible for them to dissipate their internal body heat in tropical waters.
These baleen whales can be recognised easily by their strongly arched mouth, lack of dorsal fin and V-shaped blowhole spray.