PORT PHILLIP BAY


Pygmy Right Whale 

Caperea marginata

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Cetacea
Family:
Neobalaenidae
Genus:
Caperea
Species:
marginata

General Description

Body dark grey above and white-grey below. Often white to grey paler streaks and bands from the underside extending up the sides. Mouth curves down, moderately arched compared to other right whales. Water spray from blowhole is a thin column to short puff. Up to 6.5 m long.

Biology

These whales are so unlike all other mysticetes that they are classified in their own family and are no longer considered as one of the right whales despite their name. They are the smallest of the baleen whales, at just over 6 m long and weighing up to 3400 kg. Individuals usually dive for four minutes and can swim at speeds of about 13 km/h (8 knots). Large aggregations of dozens of pygmy right whales have been sighted offshore far western Victoria.

Habitat

Temperate and subtropical waters, to depth of 1400 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Southern temperate oceans. Potentially near Port Phillip, recorded from Victoria, mainly in the west of the State near Portland.

Species Group

Mammals Whales and dolphins

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Surface Midwater

Max Size

6.5 m

Diet

Plankton or Particles

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • CITES : Trade restrictions (Appendix I)
  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Data Deficient

Author

article author Fitzgerald, E.

Dr. Erich Fitzgerald is a Senior Curator of palaeontology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Patullo, B.

Blair Patullo is Online Producer for marine projects at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Fitzgerald, E. & Patullo, B., 2011, Pygmy Right Whale, Caperea marginata, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/8091

Text: creative commons cc by licence