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False Killer Whale[1]
Size comparison against an average human
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Pseudorca
Reinhardt, 1862
Species: P. crassidens
Binomial name
Pseudorca crassidens
(Owen, 1846)
False Killer Whale range

The False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a cetacean and one of the larger members of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). It lives in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. As its name implies, the False Killer Whale shares characteristics with the more widely known Orca ("killer whale"). The two species look somewhat similar and, like the orca, the False Killer Whale attacks and kills other cetaceans. However, the two dolphin species are not closely related.

The False Killer Whale has not been extensively studied in the wild by scientists; much of the data about the dolphin has been derived by examining stranded animals.

The species is the only member of the Pseudorca genus.

Contents

Population and distribution

Although not often seen at sea, the False Killer Whale appears to have a widespread, if rare, distribution in temperate and tropical oceanic waters. They have been sighted in fairly shallow waters such as the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea as well as the Atlantic Ocean (from Scotland to Argentina), the Indian Ocean (in coastal regions and around the Lakshwadweep islands) and the Pacific Ocean (from the Sea of Japan to New Zealand and the tropical area of the eastern side), and also in Hawaii (Maui).

The total population is unknown. The eastern Pacific was estimated to have in excess of 40,000 individuals and is probably the home of the largest grouping.

The false killer whale and a dolphin have mated in captivity and produced a fertile calf.[3]. This is apparently the first mating between two different species that has produced fertile offspring, i.e., without postzygotic barriers. This offspring is called a 'Wolphin'.

Human interaction

False Killer Whale and bottlenose dolphin at the Enoshima Aquarium, Japan.

The False Killer Whale has been hunted, but not extensively, in the West Indies and Indonesia. In Japan, a small number of these cetaceans are killed every year.

False Killer Whales have long caused anger amongst fishermen fishing for tuna and yellowtail. The dolphins take the fish from the longlines used by the fishermen. This led to a concerted effort from Japanese fishermen working from Iki Island to deplete the species in the area - 900 individuals were killed for this purpose between 1965 and 1990.

Several public aquariums in the world, including Seaworld Orlando have False Killer Whales on display.

Recent evidence indicates the insular population of false killer whales in Hawaii has declined dramatically over the last 20 years. Five years of aerial surveys undertaken from 1993 through 2004 have shown a steep decline in sighting rates. Group sizes of the largest groups documented in surveys were almost four times larger than the entire current population estimate [4].

Beachings

On 2 June 2005 up to 140 (estimates vary) False Killer Whales were beached at Geographe Bay, Western Australia[5]. The main pod, which had been split into four separate strandings along the length of the coast, was successfully moved back to sea with only one death after the intervention of 1,500 volunteers coordinated by the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Just prior to sunrise on 30 May 2009, a pod of 55 False Killer Whales was discovered beached on a sandy beach at Kommetjie in South Africa (latitude 34° 8'3.98"S, longitude 18°19'58.22"E)[6]. By 9 a.m. already 50 or more volunteers had arrived to help move the whales into the ocean. Many more volunteers came throughout the day to offer their services. Late morning a decision by the authorities asked all volunteers to stabilize the False Killers Whales on the beach. No further attempt was made to take the whales into the open sea. At approximately 4 p.m. after considerable debate by all the authorities present, the decision was made to initiate euthanasia by shooting the whales; approximately 44 whales were killed.

References

  1. ^ Mead, James G. and Robert L. Brownell, Jr (November 16, 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 723–743. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14300078.  
  2. ^ Taylor, B.L., Baird, R., Barlow, J., Dawson, S.M., Ford, J., Mead, J.G., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Wade, P. & Pitman, R.L. (2008). Pseudorca crassidens. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 7 October 2008.
  3. ^ "Whale-dolphin hybrid has baby wholphin", msnbc.com, April 15, 2005.
  4. ^ "False Killer Whales in Trouble in Hawaii", Cascadia Research, April 2, 2009.
  5. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/5035021/Scores-of-whales-stranded-in-western-Australia.html
  6. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/30/55-whales-beached-at-komm_n_209413.html

See Also

External links

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Simple English

False Killer Whale
File:False killer whale
Conservation status
Data deficient (IUCN)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Pseudorca
Reinhardt, 1862
Species: P. crassidens
Binomial name
Pseudorca crassidens
(Owen, 1846)
File:Cetacea range map False Killer
False Killer Whale range

The False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a cetacean and one of the larger members of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). The species is the only member of the Pseudorca genus.

It lives in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. As its name implies, the False Killer Whale shares characteristics with the more widely known Orca ("killer whale"). The two species look somewhat similar and, like the orca, the False Killer Whale attacks and kills other cetaceans. However, the two dolphin species are not closely related.

The False Killer Whale has not been extensively studied in the wild by scientists; much of the data about the dolphin has been derived by examining stranded animals.

References

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Wikimedia Commons has images, video, and/or sound related to:
Look up Pseudorca crassidens in Wikispecies, a directory of species

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