Pygmy Killer Whale
Feresa attenuata


Other Names: Slender Blackfish, Slender Pilot Whale

Habitat: Offshore

Status: Unknown

Population: Unknown

Threats: Entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 15-25, several hundred may be seen together (rare)

Fin Position: Center

Newborns: c.32 in (80 cm), Unknown weight

Adults: 7-8 ft (2.1-2.6 m), c.240-375 lb. (110-170 kg)

Diet: Squid or octopus, fish, and occasionally mammals

Teeth: 16-24 on top row, 20-26 on bottom row


Description

Dorsal fin:

- tall dorsal fin
- slightly pointed tip (variable)
- concave trailing edge may be wavy

Flukes:

- pointed tips
- slight notch in middle

Flippers:

- long flippers
- rounded tips
- convex leading edges

Other characteristics:

- very rounded head
- body may be scarred
- dark gray or brownish gray cape on upper side
- rear half of body less robust than front hall
- blue-black, dark gray, or brownish gray body
- large white patch on belly, split into 2 halves by deep groove
- sides paler than upper side
- pale gray W shape on chest
- white "lips"
- no beak
- some individuals have a white chin


Behavior

- may be difficult to approach and is known to avoid boats, though there are reports of bow-riding and wake-riding
- sometimes seen logging, especially on sunny days
- spyhopping, lobtailing, and breaching have all been noted, but it is not usually acrobatic
- a lively swimmer: the head usually comes right out of the water when surfacing, and the animal leaps clear of the water when fleeing danger
- pods often swim abreast in perfectly coordinated "chorus lines" and, when alarmed, bunch together to rush away
- growling sounds may be heard above the surface
- often strands


Distribution

- tropical and subtropical offshore waters around the world
- distribution is poorly known from sparse but widely distributed records worldwide
- occurs in deep, warm waters, rarely close to shore (except near oceanic islands)
- mainly tropical, but occasionally strays into warm temperate regions
- seen relatively frequently in the eastern tropical Pacific, Hawaii, and Japan, though not particularly abundant anywhere; however, tends to avoid boats, so may be more common than records suggest
- no migrations are known; thought to occur year-round in well-studied areas such as Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean, and St. Vincent, in the Caribbean




TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

Return To Gulf of Mexico Species
Return To Cetaceans of the World

e-mail suggestions or questions to
tmmsn@sci.tamucc.edu

This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet