Pilot Whale
Globicephala melas (Traill, 1809)

Morphology and dimensions: Odontocete of medium size, with evident sexual dimorphism. The dimensions of males are between the 6-7 meters of length, with a weight of beyond 2 tons; females, instead, are smaller (usually within 5 m.) and they graze the ton. Babies measure 1.7 m. and weigh 80-100 kg. The name of the species derives from the known shape of the head and from the small rostrum. Males and females differ also for the shape of the dorsal fin that, low and long, in males is mainly arched. The chest fins are thin and lengthened.

Coloration: Uniformly black and with brown glares, interrupted only by one white spot, anchor shaped, in ventral position.

Swim and breathing rhythm: Often groups of globicefali stay on surface in compact formation, swimming slowly. Sometimes they execute the so-called one " spyhopping ", that is they are firm in vertical leaning the head outside the water.

Feeding: Although it is mostly teutofago, it has a set of strong teeth.

Social behaviour: It forms numerous groups, usually composed by adult females with their babies; it seems that adult males move themselves from a of female group to another. The big cohesion among groups should explain the massive beach landings which sometimes happen to these species in some areas of the world.

Vital cycle: The average life is around 40-50 years. The females get to the sexual maturity around 7 years old while the males around 15-20 years. The gestation lasts approximately 15 months.

Identification in sea: It is identified for the out-water profile, in which the “globoso” head is easily visible. Other distinctive symbols are shape of the dorsal fin and coloration. It is mainly scattered in the western portion of the Mediterranean Sea. Its frequency of sight is however quite low