Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Cetacea · Delphinidae · Lissodelphis borealis

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
Teacher Resources
About the Site
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

* PDF reader
available here

(opens in a new window)

Lissodelphis borealis

Northern Right Whale Dolphin

Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae

Image of Lissodelphis borealis
Click to enlarge this image. (49 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

With no dorsal fin, a slender body shape that tapers steadily toward the tail, and small flippers and flukes, the northern right whale dolphin appears to be built for speed. It has been clocked at 34 km per hour and can dive as deep as 200 m to feed on deepwater fish. The species is common in deep waters of the continental shelf, or offshore waters, and it also occurs in large numbers where undersea canyons bring deep waters near the coast. It is known only from temperate North Pacific waters.

Also known as:

Northern Right Whale Porpoise


Range: 2-3.1 m males; 2-2.6 m females


Range: up to 113 kg


Peale, T.R., 1848.  U.S. exploring expeditions 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 under the command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N., Mammalogy and Ornithology, 8:35. Asherman and Co., Philadelphia, 8:1-338.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account * (opens in a new window).
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Lissodelphis borealis

Image of Lissodelphis borealis
Click to enlarge this image. (29kb)

end of text