Short-finned Pilot Whale -- Cetacean Info at Whale Songs

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Globicephala macrorhynchus


COMMON NAME: Short-finned Pilot Whale


* more tropical then Long Finned Pilot Whale
* generally nomadic with no fixed migrations
* some north to south movements are related to prey movements
* populations present year round in Hawaii and The Canary Islands,Japan
* generally ranges no further north than Bermuda and Cape Hatterais and South to Venezuela,in the west
* in the east,it is usually common in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico
* common from central California to south Peru
* northern form if found off the pacific coast of northern Japan between 35 degrees south and 43 degrees north and west of 143 east
* the southern form is found in Japanese coastal to off shore waters south of 37 degrees north,but not south of 25 degrees north or east 152 degrees


* jet black or dark gray color
* rounded bulbous forehead
* fin set forward on body
* fin sweeps back
* stockly elongated body



* prefers deep waters
* edge of the continental shelf and over deep submarine canyons
* tropical and warm temperate waters


* feeds mostly at night, when dives may last for 10 min


* mating seasonis polygynous
* birth length for Japanese northern pop. is 1.85m,southern pop. 1.40m
* peak mating season appears to be September for northern form, May for southern form
* longest recorded male was 6.10m from Indian River
* longest females between 5.25 and 5.50m
* Northern Japanese: males 5.5m
* Southern Japanese:gestation 14.9 mon.,nursed for a min. of 2 years.Females sexually mature in 9 years(range 7-12)
* produce 4 to 5 calves and have last calf before the age of 40
* females may live up to 63 years and males up to only 46 probably capable of reproduction until death
* males puberty begins at 14.6 years(range 7-17)
* social maturity 17 years


* Not much known
* Sometimes approaches boats
* May breach clear of water
* Averages 4-7 blows with a long dive of up to 8 minutes- may stay under for longer
* Loose groups- spread over several miles
* Rarely shows top of head
* Often shows back and dorsal fin before a long dive
* Irregular dive sequence
* Hazy blow


* Northern Japanese form - 5,344 (range 819-9,669)
* Southern Japanese form - 53,003 (range 18,409-87,597)


* fisheries off Japan and in the Caribbean