FALSE KILLER WHALE

(Pseudorca crassidens)

Identification

Size

  • to a maximum of 6 m

Colour

  • black all over

Dorsal fin

  • small, curved dorsal fin like that of a female killer whale

 

Blow

  • small and bushy

Surface behaviour

  • may breach or porpoise
  • may bowride on vessels

Group size / social behaviour

  • extremely social, usually in large groups of 20 – 100 animals

 

Other characteristics

  • has a distinctively shaped pectoral fin that bulges in the front
  • has a rounded head or “melon”

Can be confused with

  • killer whale (but is smaller and has no white patches)
  • pilot whale (but is shaped more like a classic dolphin, and has no white patches)

Notes

  • false killer whales have been known to bowride on vessel
  • although they resemble killer whales, false killer whales are more closely related to Risso’s dolphins (see below) and pilot whales
  • many stranded false killer whales have been found to have large quantities of plastic in their stomachs
GRAEME ELLIS
ROB BUTLER