Northern Pacific right whales feed mainly at the surface on concentrations of zooplanktonic crustaceans, such as krill, calanoid copepods, and larval barnacles. Specifically, they are known to eat Neocalanus plumchrus, Calanus finmarchius, and Calanus cristatus, along with north Pacific krill and Oaratgenusti japonica. Food is gathered by skimming the surface of the water with rostrum exposed in the air, mouth open. They take in large amounts of sea water through triangular openings at the front of their mouth. After passing through the baleen, water is expressed from their mouth by the tongue, leaving their zooplankton prey behind. Northern Pacific right whales have baleen plates with exceptionally fine fringes to collect their very small prey.
Animal Foods: aquatic crustaceans; other marine invertebrates; zooplankton
Foraging Behavior: filter-feeding
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats non-insect arthropods)