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Long-finned Pilot Whale

Globicephala melas

Description:

Despite the name, this is in fact a large species of oceanic dolphin. Pilot whales can be discerned from other marine mammals in the Southern Ocean by the presence of a grey "cape" behind the dorsal fin. They have bulbous heads, and we observed them spyhopping, where they poke their heads above the surface of the water. They appeared in a rather large pod of about 20 individuals, with some calves present.

Habitat:

Circumpolar distribution in the Southern Ocean, there is also a northern population restricted to the Atlantic. They prefer cooler waters. We saw this pod on our way back to South Georgia after having been in the Weddell Sea.

Notes:

We saw pilot whales periodically throughout the trip, but on this particular day they came quite close to us. We must have stopped in a huge swarm of krill or fish or something, because on this morning we also saw many sea lions and humpback whales. For a time, the pilot whales fed alongside the humpbacks! As you can see, it was a stormy morning, so hard to get any good pictures.

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6 Comments

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Brilliant. That first shot says it all for the location... so atmospheric.

Smith Zoo
Smith Zoo 7 years ago

Spectacular!

AliceGreenup
AliceGreenup 7 years ago

Ooo the weather doesn't look great but i bet it was worth it to spot these!

LauraMaria
LauraMaria 7 years ago

Woohoo! Thanks Ava and Karen!

KarenL
KarenL 7 years ago

Awesome! Congratulations Laura!

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 7 years ago

Congratulations Laura on having the first Long-finned Pilot Whale spotting on Project Noah!

LauraMaria
Spotted by
LauraMaria

Spotted on Feb 6, 2013
Submitted on Apr 25, 2013

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