Long-finned pilot whale
The long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) is one of the two species of cetacean in the genus Globicephala. It belongs to the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae), though its behavior is closer to that of the larger whales.
Like the orca, the long-finned pilot whale is really a dolphin. It has a bulbous forehead and is jet black or dark grey with grey or white markings on throat and belly and sometimes behind dorsal fin and eye. The dorsal fin is sickle shaped. The long flippers are about 15 to 20 percent of total body length. It is sometimes known as the pothead whale because the shape of its head reminded early whalers of black cooking pots. Females reach sexual maturity at about 3.7 meters and 6 to 7 years of age. Males need about twice as long to reach sexual maturity at about 4.6 meters and 12 years of age. An adult whale weighs 1.8 to 3.5 tonnes.
They are very social, family animals and may travel in groups of up to a hundred. A dominant female is mostly acting as a leader. These groups socialize with common bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and Risso's dolphins. An adult whale needs about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of food a day, which consists mostly of cephalopods and to a lesser amount of fish. Pilot whales generally take several breaths before diving for a few minutes. Feeding dives may last over ten minutes. They are capable of diving to depths of 600 meters, but most dives are to a depth of 30-60 meters.
Gestation lasts approximately 12 to 15 months and calving occurs once every 3 to 5 years. Calves are generally 1.8 meters (6 feet) at birth, and weigh about 102 kilograms (225 pounds). The calf nurses for up to 27 months, with some evidence for longer lactation and extensive mother calf bonds. Most calves are born in the summer, though some calving occurs throughout the year. The males may compete for mates with fights involving butting, biting, and ramming. Mating also involves these activities, and some females carry scars from bites inflicted by males during the breeding season. Females have been observed to have calves as late as 55 years old, and lactate as late as 61. This evidence indicates that females may nurse their last calf until puberty (up to 10 years in males).
Communication and echolocation consist of a wide sound range from three to 18 kHz. These sounds are produced 14 to 40 times a minute.
Long-finned pilot whales are very active and can often be seen lobtailing and spyhopping. The younger ones also breach, but this is rare in adults. long-finned pilot whales often strand themselves on beaches - because they have strong family bonds, when one animal strands, the rest of the pod tends to follow.
- ^ Mead, James G.; Brownell, Robert L., Jr. (16 November 2005). "Order Cetacea (pp. 723-743)". In Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14300052.
- ^ Taylor, B.L., Baird, R., Barlow, J., Dawson, S.M., Ford, J., Mead, J.G., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Wade, P. & Pitman, R.L. (2008). Globicephala melas. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 February 2009.
No one has provided updates yet.