To see photographs of Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala
electra) click here.
Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra)
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Taxonomic name: Peponocephala electra
Other Common Names: Blackfish, Many-toothed Blackfish.
The Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra) is one of a number of
species of ocean dwelling marine mammals also known as Blackfish.
The distribution of the Melon-headed Whale is tropical to warm temperate
waters in both hemispheres. They feed on squid and small fish. Pods of
Melon-headed Whales may reach well over 1500 though smaller groups of
100 or more are the usual pod size.
Melon-headed Whales have a distinctive triangular shaped head, when viewed
from below or above. They are slender with a large, back-swept dorsal
fin. Colour is black on back and sides with a slightly lighter belly and
a distinctive white tip on the chin extending onto the nose. The lips
are often paler gray to white. There may be a lighter area around the
vents varying from pale gray to white or pink.
Viewed from the surface they throw a lot of spray, bunching together
when pursued. Underwater they are very vocal, swarming past in a curious
jostling group. They have been observed attacking dolphins on rare occasions.
Calves are born at 1.2 m and grow to 2.6 m if female and 2.7 if male.
Their taxonomic name, Peponocephala electra, means "melon head"
with electra referring to a mythological Greek nymph.