Monday, July 30, 2007

False killer whale fact sheet

The false killer whale got its name because it shares similar characteristics with the orca, although they are not directly related.  Like orcas they can attack dolphins and whales, including sperm whales; although they more commonly feed on large fish and cephalopods (squid and octopus).  False killer whales have a bad reputation, especially among fishermen because they often take large fish from longlines. They are not shy of boats and are frequently seen riding bow waves. Groups are usually made up of 10 – 60 individuals, although groups may join to form superpods of hundreds. False killer whales are found in tropical to warm temperate waters, but it is not known if they migrate as not much is known about their populations.

In the Azores false killer whales are sighted occasionally, sometimes with other species such as bottlenose dolphins.

• Male: 6 m
• Female: 5 m
• Calf:  1.5 – 2.1 m


• Male: 2,000 kg
• Calf:  80 kg

Global population: c.325,000 
(population trend unknown)

Status: Data Deficient

Diet: Large fish such as tuna, cephalopods (squid and octopus), marine mammals

Teeth: 32 – 44

Longevity: 20 years

Breeding age: Unknown

Gestation: 11 months

Nursing: 18 months

In other languages
Portuguese: Falsa-orca
Spanish: Falsa-orca
French: Fausse orque
Italian: Pseudorca 
German: Kleiner Schwertwal, Unechter Schwertwal
Dutch:  Zwarte zwaardwalvis 
Swedish: Halvspäckhuggare, falsk späckhuggare
Norwegian: Falsk spekkhogger
Danish: Halvspækhugger
Finnish: Pikkumiekkavalas
Polish: Szablogrzbiet
Russian: Chornaya kasatka, malaya kasatka

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