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Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata)

Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata)

All text on this page is copyright protected: © 2014 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for personal research only. Not for commercial use.

Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Feresa
Species: attenuata
Taxonomic name: Feresa attenuata
Other Common Names: Blackfish, Pygmy Orca.

The Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata) is one of a number of species of ocean dwelling marine mammals also known as Blackfish.

The distribution of the Pygmy Killer Whale is tropical to warm temperate waters in both hemispheres.

Pygmy Killer Whales vary in colour from dark brownish gray to black. The lower lip is distinctively white. This colour may extend onto the chin/throat area. The underside, from the chin to vents, varies from white to pale gray with the pale area varying in size and pattern. The head is slightly elongated with a rounded snout with no beak. The dorsal fin is large and backswept surrounded by a large dark saddle patch. Overall body shape is long and slender though not as elongated as their False Killer Whale and Melon-headed Whale cousins.

Pygmy Killer Whales are not considered dangerous to humans though they can be aggressive, charging at divers and known to hunt and feed on dolphins. Staple diet for these whales are squid and fish. A curious feature with this species is that at least some individuals have one less tooth on the right side of the jaw.

Pygmy Killers are found in large groups. Sightings of individuals are of scouts. They tend not to play with or approach boats and at times can be vary wary when divers are in the water, preferring a large personal space, but will approach very closely during aggressive displays.

Calves are born at .8 m and grow to 2.7 m.

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