Long-finned Pilot Whale

Long-finned pilot whale

The long-finned pilot whale is not actually a whale at all. Instead it is a large species of oceanic dolphin. It shares the genus Globicephala with the short-finned pilot whale (as you will see on the whale and dolphin page). Long-finned pilot whales are known as such because they have unusually long pectoral fins. Pilot whales get their name from the original belief that there was a “pilot” or lead individual in their groups. The name for the genus, Globicephala is derived from a combination of Latin (“globe”) and Greek kephale (“head”). The specific name is Greek for “black”. This species has also earned the nickname of “pothead whale” in some places because the shape of its head reminded early whalers of black cooking pots.

There is sexual dimorphism in the species. Females grow to a maximum length of up to 6m (20ft), and a maximum weight of up to 2,500kg (5,500lb). Males are significantly larger at up to 7.6 m (25ft) in length, and weigh up to 4,500kg (9,900lb). This makes the long-finned pilot whale the second largest member of the dolphin family, behind the Killer whale (Orcinus Orca).The long-finned pilot whale is top of the list of animals by number of neurons more neocortical neurons than any mammal studied to date, in fact having almost twice as many as humans.

While they can bee seen in groups of several thousand, they are generally an amalgamation of a number of smaller groups. Generally they belong to pods that lie in size from 20-150, with individual family groups of 8-10 adding together to make this group.

 They make a variety of noises, as well as using echolocation in water too murky to use their eyes. In deep dives, the females on either end appear to make the decisions.

They are Considered least concern, with a north atlantic population of around 780,000 though this includes short-finned pilots whales as it is hard to tell them apart.

Below, you will find a video of these animals. Below that, you will find any articles on this subject that have been written or will be. Below that, I will add any links that will allow you to see this species in the wild.

False Killerwhale

False killerwhale

The False killer whale gets its name from the shape of its skull, which is very similar to the killer whale.  While it is found in most oceans of the world, it is prominently located in tropical waters.

It is highly social, usually found in pods of 50 or so animals. Oddly while these pods often include other species of dolphin, such as common dolphin the false killer whale has been known to eat other species of dolphin, though mostly it feeds on fish and squid. It can swim down to depths approaching 1000m below the surface, and can swim at speeds of 30km/h. it is a species which is well known for mass intentional strandings. Originally described by a British palaeontologist in 1846, based on a fossil found 3 years earlier. The species was presumed extinct, until a carcass washed ashore 15 years later.

It is capable of hybridizing with bottlenose dolphins, producing fertile offspring called whalpins.

it is considered an apex predator, and while it generally targets squid and fish, it has been seen targeting tuna, and even sharks on occasion. As well as targeting smaller dolphins, it has been known to attack sperm whales, and has even been recorded on one occasion, attacking a humpback whale. They are targeted by killer whales and a handful of shark species.

It is considered common around the world, though no total population number has ever been established.

Below is a 10 minute documentary on this species

Here is a list of any articles that have been written on this subject across this website. Below this news section, we hope to link with people who can help you see these creatures in the wild.

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

Found off the north coast of Australia (see the map to the right for a more detailed idea, the Yellow is suspected range, and the question marks designate areas which have similar attributes, but where they have never been seen) it looks very similar to the Irrawaddy dolphin, and was only recognized as a separate species in 2005.

They are the only 2 species found in the genus Orcaella. The closest relative to this genus (as you may have guessed) is the Orca or killer whale.

Females reach a length of 230cm while males grow to 270cm. While lifespan is estimated at 30 years, this species is so rarely encountered, scientific studies have proved impossible so far.

Generally living in groups of 2-6 (larger groups of up to 14 have been encountered). It is consindered vulnerable, and while its population does not show rapid declines in recent times, its wild population is thought to number 200 or less.

 Below, is a video of the species, and then is a list of any mentions of this species on the website (given how rare it is, it may never show any articles).

Below that, I will add any opportunities to see this animal in the wild, as we make contacts

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