Short-finned Pilot Whale
Species: Globicephala macrorhynchus
3.6 to 7.2 m (males are considerably larger than females), weighing 1 000 to 4 000 kg
Up to 63 years
Pilot whales use echolocation clicks to find their way around, hunt and socialise, and they call to communicate with each other. Listen to them here.
The Short-finned Pilot Whale is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. It lives in deep waters up to 900 m.
The Short-finned Pilot Whale reaches its sexual maturity between 8 and 17 years. It gives birth to a calf after a 15 to 16-month gestation period and once every 5 to 7 years.
It consumes fish and mainly squid, which it hunts in deep waters.
Morphological characteristics for identification at sea
- Head: pronounced globe-shaped melon, no beak
- Fins and flippers: sickle-shaped dorsal fin with a broad, backward-curved base, curved, thin, long and pointed flippers
- Spout: low and bushy
- Swim sequence: tail flukes sometimes raised out of the water before diving, surfaces slowly
- Colouring: black coat, grey-white markings on throat and chest, sometimes a grey saddle around the dorsal fin
Click on the link to see the Short-finned Pilot Whale in 3D:
Did you know?
Mysterious mass pilot whale strandings occur throughout the world every year with the causes remaining unknown (illnesses? magnetic field disturbances? noise pollution? etc.)
Banner photo credit: Yannick Stephan - Mayotte Découverte