Monday, July 30, 2007

Pilot whale fact sheet


Pilot whales are divided into two different species: short-finned (G. macrorhynchus) and long-finned (G. melas). Short-finned pilot whales are found in warmer temperate to tropical waters and it is this species that is most frequently sighted in the Azores. However, long-finned pilot whales that prefer cooler waters have also been sighted here, but it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two at sea. Pilot whales are very social animals that are often seen in groups of 15 – 50 or even hundreds of individuals. They form strong permanent bonds and which may be why they often strand in large numbers.

In the Azores pilot whales are frequently sighted from April to October. They are usually seen in deeper water where they can dive over 500 m deep for cephalopods (squid and octopus). They are frequently seen near sperm whales and Risso's dolphins.


Short-finned pilot whale facts:
Length: 
• Male: 7.2 m

• Female: 5.5 m

• Calf: 1.4 – 1.9 m



Weight: 
• Male: 3,600 kg

• Calf: 100 kg



Global population: c.650,000 (population trend unknown)

Status: Data Deficient



Diet: Cephalopods (squid and octopus), fish



Teeth: 30 – 40



Longevity: 
• Male: 45 years

• Female: 60 years



Breeding age: 
• Male: 12 year

• Female: 6 - 7 years



Gestation: 12 – 15 months



Nursing: 22 months



In other languages
Portuguese: Baleia-piloto-tropical/Baleia-piloto
Spanish: Calderón tropical, ballena piloto de aleta corta/Calderón común, ballena piloto de aleta larga
French: Baleine pilote, globicéphale tropical/globicéphale commun, globicéphale noir 
Italian: Globicefalo di Gray/Globicefalo 
German: Kurzflossen Pilotwal, Grindwal/Gewöhnlicher GrindwalLangflossen-Grindwal
Dutch: Indische griend/gewone griend, zwarte griend 
Swedish: Kortfenad grindval/Långfenad grindval
Norwegian: Kortfinnegrindhval/Langfinnegrindhval, svinehval
Danish: Grindehval/Langfinnede Grindehval
Finnish: Grindvalaat, Pitkäeväpallopää/Eväpallopää
Polish: Albrzymi delfin, grindwal
Russian: Grindy







Pilot whales approaching and diving under our boat

Pilot whales passing by our boat

Pilot whales underwater

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