trying to find out what i saw

From: Pieter Arend Folkens (animalbytes@earthlink.net)
Date: Fri May 26 2000 - 03:14:30 EDT


>hello again! the dorsal fin was on the mid-back, so
>that probably rules out the minke whale. the cetacean
>also jumped completely out the water. its length was
>at least 10 feet up to 15 feet. about the same length
>of some of the "huge" alligators i have seen down
>there. they look like a small boat swimming down the
>water ways.
>
>first of all, my initial thought was that it was a
>killer whale, but it didn't figure right in my mind
>b/c i always thought that they lived in the cold
>pacific waters not the warm waters of the gulf.
>secondly, i did not notice the oval patch so i kind of
>ruled it out of my mind.
>
>the edges where distinct though and didn't merge. my
>dad was looking at a book with cetaceans and thought
>it could have been a risso's dolphin, killer whale,
>common dolphin, etc. he really wasn't sure at all.
>
>my guess is that it is either a common dolphin or a
>bottlenose dolphin. if it was a bottlenose dolphin it
>would have to be a much darker gray than it commonly
>has.
>thank u again and hope to hear from u soon.
>justin champlin

Killer whales are cosmopolitan (found worldwide), so seeing them in the
gulf is a distinct possibility. Ten to fifteen feet is small for a killer
whale (other than a calf) and too large for a common dolphin. The
diagnostic feature of the common dolphin is the crossing pattern on the
flanks and a yellowish lateral field. Your mention of a white side rules
out the false killer whale (Pseudorca), so for the size range you
estimated, it appears to have been a bottlenose dolphins with a
particularly dark dorsal area.

Cheers,

Pieter Folkens

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