Species: Peponocephala electra
2 to 2.8 m, weighing 210 to 275 kg
Up to 40 years
The Melon-headed Whale (or Electra Dolphin) emits calls to communicate with others. Belonging to the order Odontocetes, they can communicate and locate each other by echolocation. Listen to them here:
It lives offshore in warm and deep waters of tropical and subtropical oceans (Atlantic, Indian and Pacific). It can also be observed near coasts or on a continental shelf with a steep drop to deep waters, such as oceanic archipelagos of volcanic origin.
The Melon-headed Whale reaches sexual maturity between 4 and 11 years. It gives birth to a calf every 3 to 4 years after approximately 12 months of gestation.
Carnivores feeding on small fish and molluscs.
Morphological characteristics for distinction at sea
- Head: pronounced melon shape, no beak, narrow and elongated triangular-shaped head when seen from above
- Fins and flippers: small curved dorsal fin in the middle of the back, long pointed pectoral fins slightly curved backwards, long caudal peduncle
- Colouring: dark grey to black, white lips
Did you know?
This dolphin is named after Electra, an aquatic nymph from Greek mythology.
Banner photo credit: Yannick Stephan - Mayotte Découverte