This is the southern right whale dolphin. It has a confusing name, but they’re fascinating to watch and look it.
These sleek swimmers live only in coldest waters of the Earth’s southernmost oceans. They are in fact the only dolphins without dorsal fins in the southern hemisphere (1). Female right whale dolphins are larger than males, and adults can measure
Swimming at up to 24 mph, southern right whale dolphins are incredibly able swimmers, owing their speed to their torpedo-like bodies (2). They travel by leaping out of the water continuously, in pods ranging in size from 100-2,000 individuals. Much like birds, they frequently travel in a V-shaped pattern (2). Their diet consists mostly of squid and fish, but some have been observed feeding on small crustaceans as well.
Interestingly, because these creatures live in subantarctic waters, almost nothing is known of their reproductive biology. We don’t know how the court each other, mate or socialize, except that they communicate with clicks and whistles. We do know, however, that they do tend to school with other species of whales and dolphins.
All-in-all, there’s really nothing extraordinary to comment on about these little guys – just a reminder that our world is filled with life that you’ve probably never heard of!