TTo see photographs of the Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata)
Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata)
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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.