Subject: Behavior,whale community and whales in general (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 14:14:28 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 08:14:39 +0800
From: Lindsay J Porter <>
Subject: Behavior,whale community and whales in general

>How much dose the Pilot Whale eat in a day
>How fast does the pilot whale swim?
>How deep does the Pilot Whale dive?
>What does the Pilot Whale do in it's free time?
>How long does the Pilot Whale stay under water?
> How do they express their feelings?
>Why does the Pilot Whale lob tail?
>How high can they breach or jump?
>Why do they breach?
>Do whales interact with other creatures?
>                                        Whale Community
>Do the whales have enemies?
>Why does the Pilot Whale have dorsal fins?
>How did the Pilot Whale get it's color?
>Is the PILOT Whale endangered?
>What is the lifespan of the Pilot Whale?
>What is differences between a male pilot whale and a Female pilo whale?
>What are some gender differences in the Pilot Whale? 

Pilot Whales
There are two species of pilot whale;
Globicepala melas - the long finned pilot whale 
Globicephala macrorhynchus - the short finned pilot whale
You do not mention to which species you are referring to or which
geographical area you are interested in.  I shall answer your questions only
generally but shall be happy to be more specific if you send me further details.

Long finned pilot whales are found in temperate and sub-polar zones, in both
oceanic and some coastal waters.  Those populations found in southern waters
are isolated from those found in northern.  Long-finned pilot whales are
highly social - occurring in groups of 20, 100 to over a 1000 individuals.
These groups are stable over long time periods.  The species displays sexual
dimorphism - females being 5.7m in length nand males 6.7m - and males can
weigh as much as 2000kg.  Their diet consists of squid and 'medium-sized'
fish, which they dive to great depth to catch.  This species often forages
in  ranks - sometimes with other species.  Although the species quite often
displays above water, groups are quite often seen 'rafting' on the surface -
presumeabley resting. 

Both species have extremely long tappered flippers and are dark brownish
grey to black in colour.  Males have a more bulbeous head than females and
it is difficult to distinguish the two species in areas where populations
overlap - the long-finned has a longer dorsal fin cf. to the short-finned
(intuitively enough!)  Long-finned have a light grey saddle patch behind the
dorsal fin - as do short-finned but in addition, short finned have a pair of
parellel light bands on its back, extending from eye to saddle patch.
BOTH species are classed by the IUCN as "Insufficiently known"  and threats
to  long-finned pilot whales include drive fisheries in the Faroe Isles and
incidental catch in the western north Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Short-finned Pilot Whales

Look on Song of the Whales website for info on their studies on short-finned
pilot whales and pictures
(Copy of text from Song page in case you are unable to access internet)

Size : Adults grow up to 5.5m (females) and 6.1m (males), and adult males
may weigh up to 3,600kg. They are about 1.8m long at birth.

Geographical Distribution : Found in warm temperate and tropical waters
worldwide, these odontocetes are not usually found north of 50 degrees, or
south of 40 degrees. Outside this range, their niche is filled by their
long-finned relatives,
Globicephala melas, the long-finned pilot whales.

Expliotation : Pilot whales have been hunted by coastal fisheries throughout
their range. The largest recent catches have occured off Japan, where
coastal whale fisheries account for a few hundred annually and in the Caribbean.

Pilot whales are a highly social species with a wide vocal repertoire. They
dive deep to feed, it is thought predominantly, on the squid they find
there. Their complex social structure includes females suckling the young of
their relatives, for up to 15 years after they become post reproductive at
an age of about 35 years. The extremely tight bonds of this matrilinear
social structure may account for the frequent mass strandings involving
pilot whales.

Additional Information can be obtained from the Food and Agricultural
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Guide to Marine Mammals of the
World.  Jefferson, T., Leatherwood, S. and Webber, M. 1993.   Rome: FAO.
ISBN 92-5-103292-0

I hope this is of help - please email again if you wish more specific details.

best wishes
Lindsay J Porter
Dolphin Research Group
The Swire Institute of Marine Science
The University of Hong Kong
Cape d'Aguilar
Hong Kong