The Short-finned Pilot Whale - the "Cheetah of the Deep"

Short-finned pilot whaleThe short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) is a mammal of the family Delphinidae and has a robust body. The animal’s beak is barely existent due to its large, bulbous head. The short-finned pilot whale’s dorsal fin is set towards the front of the body and is quite wide. The whale’s flippers are long and slender.

The short-finned pilot whale is one of the larger members of the dolphin family. Male short-finned pilot whales can grow as long as 7.3 meters (24 feet) with an average length of 5.5 meters (18 feet), while the female short-finned pilot whales reach an average of 3.7 meters (12 feet). Adult short-finned pilot whales have a weight ranging from 1000 to 3000 kilograms (2200 to 6600 pounds).

Short-finned pilot whales are usually found in deep waters where there is an abundance of squid and they like warm to moderate waters temperatures and can be found at varying distances from coastlines. Short-finned pilot whales are found in four areas of the United States, including the Northern Gulf of Mexico, West Coast, Western North Atlantic and Hawaii. The short-finned pilot whale has a range that extends throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Its northern range extends to 50°N, and its southern range extends to 40°S.

The short-finned pilot whale mostly feeds on squid, including giant squid.
The species also feeds on octopus and large fish. Short-finned pilot whales consume about 5 percent of their bodyweight per year. The short-finned pilot whale’s main predators are killer whales, large shark species and humans.

Short-finned pilot whales have a unique hunting style. Often called the "cheetahs of the deep", the short-finned pilot whale uses a fast, torpedo-like dive technique to hunt prey. When hunting prey, short-finned pilot whales can reach speeds of 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and hold that speed for up to 200 meters (650 feet). This unique, missile-like dive technique shows that all whales aren’t large, slow moving creatures.

Short-finned pilot whales are considered to be Lower-risk-Conservation Dependant by the IUCN Redlist. Lower-risk-Conservation Dependant is a category of the IUCN Redlist. This categorical filing of the short-finned pilot whale means that conservation efforts are required to keep the species from becoming threatened with extinction.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 protects the short-finned pilot whale. According to this act, any hunting, capture, killing, or harassment of a marine mammal is restricted in the United States. The act also enacts a moratorium on any export, import or sale of any marine mammal and marine mammal parts.

Keywords: flipper , black , white , stripe

The Pacific pilot whale, short-finned pilot whale is listed as Conservation Dependent (LR/cd), the focus of a continuing taxon-specific or habitat-specific conservation programme targeted towards the taxon in question, the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for one of the threatened categories below within a period of five years, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the shortfinned pilot whale
A young / baby of a shortfinned pilot whale is called a 'calf'. The females are called 'cow' and males 'bull'. A shortfinned pilot whale group is called a 'gam, pod or herd'.
Short-finned pilot whale habitats
Epipelagic (0-200m) and Marine Oceanic
Some facts about the
Short-finned pilot whale

Adult weight : 2200 kg (4840 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 63 years

Female maturity :3470 days

Male maturity : 5332 days

Gestation : 452 days

Weaning : 730 days

Litter size : 1

Interval between litters : 1095 days

Weight at birth : 60 kg (132 lbs)

Mortality rate doubling time : 20 years

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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