Short-finned pilot whale

Globicephala macrorhynchus
Globicéphale à nageoires courtes /Globicéphale Tropical/Baleine pilote

Interesting facts

Short-finned pilot whales are larger members of the dolphin group reaching average lengths of 12 feet (3.7 m) for females and 18 feet (5.5 m) for males with maximum male size of 24 feet (7.3 m). Adult weight is 2200 to 6600 pounds (1000 to 3000 kg).

They have a bulbous melon head with no discernable beak. Their dorsal fin is located far forward on the body and has a relatively long base. Body color is black or dark brown with a large gray saddle behind the dorsal fin.

They are polygynous (males have more than one mate) and are often found in groups with a ratio of one mature male to about every eight mature females. Males generally leave their birth school, while females may remain in theirs for their entire lifetime.

Gestation lasts approximately 15 months while lactatation lasts for at least two years. The last calf born to a mother may be nursed for as long as 15 years. The calving interval is 3 to 9 years, but older females do not give birth as often as younger females. Maturity occurs around 10 years of age and maximum longevity is 45 years for males and 60 years for females.

Short-finned pilot whales pods often occur in groups of 25 to 50 animals.

They feed primarily on squid, but they may also feed on octopus and fish, all from moderately deep water of 1000 feet (305 m) or more. When they are swimming and probably looking for food, pilot whales form ranks that can be over a kilometer (more than 1/2 mile) long.