||Medium-sized long slender
black/dark grey whale with square bulbous head, low dorsal fin just forward of centre of
back and a distinctive white/light grey patch on ventral surface (B142, D23).
- Male: 3,000-3,5000kg (B142)
- Female:1,800-2,500kg (B142)
- New-born: 60-80kg (B142)
- 4.5-6m/15-20ft (D23)
- Female about 4.0-5.0m, maximum 6.0m; male about 5.5-6.0m, maximum 8.5m (B142)
- Body: long and slender, more robust in older animals.
- Head: square, bulbous (particularly in old males), with
slightly protruding upper lip. Chin has anchor-shaped greyish white patch.
- Teeth: small (less than 13mm diameter), peg-like, 8-12
pairs in each jaw.
- Flippers: long - to 1/5 of body length, sickle-shaped,
- Dorsal and flanks: black/dark grey, sometimes with grey
saddle caudal to dorsal fin.
- Abdomen variable extent grey area, palest in young
- Dorsal fin: slightly cranial of midpoint along back,
fairly low, black or grey, in females and immatures sickle-shaped, in adult males
- Tail: stock has thick keel, flukes deeply notched centre
and concave trailing edge.
- Mainly squid (Todarodes spp., also Ommastrephes spp.
and Gonatus spp.)
- Also fish (Gadus, Scomber, Pollachius, Molva,
Dicentrarchus, Conger, Anguilla, Merluccius, Trisopterus spp.)
- No distinct breeding season.
- Gestation about 14-16 months.
- Lactation about 22 months.
- Calving interval 3-4 years.
- Generally travel at about 5-15km/hour; can reach 40km/hour. (B142).
- Gregarious. Herds usually 20-40 individuals, sometimes much larger.
Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere populations recognised as two distinct
Organisations (UK Contacts):