For reasons unknown, the false killer whale is among the most common cetaceans involved in mass strandings. The sheer size of these episodes is hard to absorb - 835 animals were beached in the largest documented case. They are found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, swimming with as many as ten other species of cetaceans. They feed primarily on fish and squid and have been seen sharing food in the wild, an unusual occurrence in mammals. In captivity, they have hybridized with bottlenose dolphins
and given birth to viable offspring. The false killer whale is the second largest of the dolphins, measuring 3.3 - 6 m in length and weighing up to 1,360 kg; in the family Delphinidae
, only killer whales are larger.
Links:Mammal Species of the WorldClick here for The American Society of Mammalogists species account
Original description: Owen, R.A., 1846. A history of British fossil mammals and birds, p. 516. London, 560 pp.