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Long Finned Pilot Whale
Characteristics
Scientific Name:
Globicephala melas
Family Name:
Delphinidae
Size:
4.5m - 5.7 m
Weight:
1.3 - 2.3 tons
Color:
dark grey or brown body
Diet:
squid and fish
HOME >> WATER SPECIES >> DOLPHINS >> Long Finned Pilot Whale


Long Finned Pilot Whale

Long Finned Pilot Whale Snapshot
 
 
 
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Long Finned Pilot Whale Description
  The long-finned pilot whale is a medium-sized whale, with an elongated body, a bulbous forehead and a short, almost imperceptible beak. In mature males, the rounded forehead overhangs the snout. The mouth-line is curved upwards, and the crescentric blowhole is set slightly to the left of centre on the top of the head.
The dorsal fin is prominent and falcate, with a low profile, and long base and is located relatively far forward on the back (about a third of the way back from the head). In adult males, the dorsal fin may have a thicker leading edge and rounder form than in females. Flippers are very long and slender, with pointed tips and an angled leading edge forming an ‘elbow’. The tail stock has a thick keel. Tail flukes are pointed at the tips with a concave trailing edge and a deep median notch.

Pilot whales are almost completely black in colour. New-born and immature animals may be slightly lighter in colour, and younger whales are often slightly spotted with grey. Most adults have scars, ranging from squid sucker marks to tooth scars caused by interactions with conspecifics. Individual variation in the colouration of pilot whales is known to occur; adults generally have light markings on the throat and belly and sometimes behind the dorsal fin and eye, typically a long anchor-shaped ventral patch, dorsal saddle and eye blaze are noted. The grey dorsal saddle is found just behind the dorsal fin and can measure more than 1 m in length, tapering to a point towards the tail. The eye blaze is a narrow, elongated patch up to 20 cm long behind the eye. The dorsal fin saddles and eye blaze are not as distinctive in animals from the North Atlantic as those found in the Southern Hemisphere. These colour patterns are not very useful for individual identification, due to the fact that they are often indistinct and difficult to see in the field.

The number of teeth is variable but there are usually 9 to 12 in each row (around 40 total). The teeth are sharp and pointed, but may become worn with age

 
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