Southern Right Whale - Reproduction in Peninsula Valdes

Southern Right Whale - Reproduction in Peninsula Valdes

The Southern Right Whale females reach sexual maturity at five or six years old. The mating or courtship takes place with several males and a female courted is enclosed by the sides by 2, 3 or more males. Mating can last more than one day, and the female, to avoid being coupled is placed belly up, position which she can only hold for a few minutes, because of the need to breathe.

whale watching - jumping in patagonia

 A tactic developed by males is to support the belly on the back of the female, while others keep their positions on the sides. When the female turns to breathe, males are pushed until one of them manages to copulate. Other times, as observed from whale watching boats in Puerto Piramides, while the female is belly up, males look for the vaginal slit with their penises.

Tail in a Whale Watching Sunset in Peninsula Valdes

The male penis is about 2 meters long and its owner has control all of the movements, in much the same way that an elephant has control of it’s trunk. If the male is able to penetrate the female by a few centimetres, it can exert a force powerful enough to turn the female to him, and to facilitate intercourse. Copulation lasts no more than 30 seconds but courtship activity can be extended for several hours and generally almost all males copulate, but only one fertilizes the female. According to research provided by Patagonia Natural Foundation, the rate of reproduction is a calf every three years.

The male penis is about 2 meters long

The gestation period is 12 months, followed by a further 12 months of suckling the calf and another 12 months gestation.The wahles do not have multiple births, producing only one calf with each pregnancy. Births occur mainly between August and late October. Whale milk is oily and has a viscous consistency because it has more than 50% fat and 12% of proteins, allowing the calf grow between 2 and 3 cm daily, twice its size at the end of feeding, after a year.
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