Long-Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas)
Description: The Long-Finned Pilot Whale
is a fairly stocky whale, with low, rounded dorsal fin that
is set one-third of the way along the body (in the young,
the dorsal is more triangular). The flippers are pointed
and long, often extending for as much as 25% of the body
length in adults. The forehead is bulbous, leading to a
small mouth which has between 8-13 pairs of teeth in each
jaw. The body colour is very dark brown or grey-black, with
the young being a lighter grey. Stranded animals are normally
very dark. There is a light grey or white patch in the shape
of an anchor on the throat and chest. There is also a streak
behind the eye and a saddle patch behind the dorsal, but
both of these can be either very visible or barely noticeable.
Males reach a maximum of 6.3m and females 5.5m in length.
The average body weight is 1.75 tonnes and 1 tonne respectively.
Habitat: Long-Finned Pilot Whales prefer subpolar and temperate
waters where the surface has atemperature of between 0-25º.
They are mainly an oceanic species, though they will enter
coastal and shallow waters in search of food. Food &
Feeding: Long-Finned Pilot Whales mainly take squid as a
food source, but when none are available they will take
fish. It is thought, however, that this species will take
any locally abundant schooling prey.
Behaviour: Although an extremely social species, Long-Finned
Pilot Whales are not normally acrobatic, preferring to move
slowly and 'log' at the surface. They vocalise with clicks
and whistles. Longevity: Between 35-60 years.