Facts about Long-finned pilot whales


Scientific Name: Globicephala melas
Family: Delphinidae
Range: Temperate to subpolar regionsof all oceans except North Pacific
Habitat: Offshore and oceanic
Status: Common
Population: In excess of 500,000
Diet: Mostly squid and schooling fish
Length: 4-7.6m
Weight: 2-3.8 tons


Flukes: Concave trailing edges and a distinct notch
Dorsal fin: Low, long and broad based, with a rounded tip and trailing edge that is usually strongly concave
Flippers: Long, narrow and swept back. About  1/5th of body length in long-finned species
Shape of head: Bulbous melon and short beak, sometimes a pale stripe extends diagonally upward from each eye
Body: Largely dark grey, black or brown. May have a grey “saddle patch” behind the dorsal fin. White or pale patch on belly and W-shaped area on the throat
Blow: Strong blow up to 1.2m high
Group size: Groups of 10-60, but up to hundreds or thousands
Behaviour: Commonly lobtails or spyhops, and sometimes logs. Shallow dives last 2-6 minutes, deep dives 10 minutes. Dives are interspersed with several breaths.
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