The smallest species of baleen whales, these cetaceans form a separate family. Due to lack of callosities on its skin and overall similarity with rorquals, Pygmy right whales are sometimes mistaken for Minke whales. As a matter of fact, Pygmy right whales are not 'right' whales. However, they are called so because of having a stocky body and bowed lower jaw with the arch, becoming more prominent as they age. The life span for this species is unknown. However, related baleen whales generally have a life span of 20-40 years, varying with each species, but can live up to 80 years.
Pygmy right whales are circumpolar species, found in the Southern Hemisphere, throughout the waters of Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, surrounding Antarctica. These pelagic creatures prefer living in cool to cold ocean waters.
There is very little information on social behavior and habits of this species due to rarity of observations in the wild. The Pygmy right whales have been known to form groups of 80 individuals. However, they are generally solitary, travelling alone or in pairs. According to some evidence, they may inhabit coastal waters during the spring and summer months. Pygmy right whales do not show many behaviors, which are typical for whales. For example, unlike most whales, these cetaceans to not tend to breach, spyhop or show their flukes. When they come up to breathe, they usually remain at the surface for just a few seconds, sticking their snouts out of the water and then diving back into the ocean. During these surfacings, their white lower jaw and arched mouthline are clearly seen. These strong swimmers are capable of gaining high speed in short periods of time.
There's little data on reproductive habits of these animals. However, they may have the same reproductive habits as other right whales: 10 - 12 months of gestation period, yielding a single young, which remains with its mother for 6 - 12 months, after which it's weaned.
Anthropogenic threats to the population of this species have not been found. Pygmy right whales are likely to suffer from ocean pollution, which may negatively impact the health and habitat of these animals. The population size of Pygmy right whale is unknown, suggesting that the species either has a very small population or they are difficult to spot in the wild, since concentration of these whales have not yet been recorded.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Pygmy right whale is unknown for today, and this species is currently classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List.