Saturday, September 17, 2011

False Killer Whale

Killer Whales, or Orcas, are actually Dolphins. The same is true for False Killer Whales. They are one of the largest members of the Delphinidae family, and males can grow as long as 20ft.

Pseudorca crassidens
Though they share part of a common name and some physical similarities, False Killer Whales and Killer Whales really aren't that closely related. They belong to separate genera. False Killer Whales have rounded heads with no beaks, tall dorsal fins, and dark coloration. They live in groups that can number into the dozens, and sometimes intermingle with other dolphins, like Bottlenoses. They feed mainly on cephalopods and large fish, using echolocation to locate and capture prey.

One rather interesting fact about False Killer Whales is that the world first learned of them from fossils. Live identification didn't occur until 15 years later! As you might guess, they aren't an exceptionally common species, though they can be found in temperate and tropical oceans world. For example, of the 18 species of dolphin and toothed whale found around Hawaii, they are the least populous.

According to the IUCN, there is not enough data to effectively evaluate the population of the species. They are uncommon, but also have a massive range, which makes getting exact numbers difficult, and makes it hard to determine how the species is being affected by factors like bycatch and antropogenic sound. A drastic population decrease could be incredibly troublesome for the species, because they are already uncommon, because they mature very slowly (males take about 18 years), and because they breed infrequently.

IUCN Status : Data Deficient
Location : Temperate and Tropical Oceans
Size : Length up to 20ft (6m), Weight up to 1,500lbs (700kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Cetacea
Family : Delphinidae -- Genus : Pseudorca -- Species : P. crassidens

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post on false killer whales


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