Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life of Pilot Whale

Life of Sea | Pilot Whale (Globicephala) | Pilot whales are cetaceans belonging to the genus Globicephala. There are two extant species, the long-finned pilot whale and short-finned pilot whale. The two are not easily distinguished at sea and the analysis of the skulls is the best way to tell the difference between them. Between the two species, pilot whales in waters almost worldwide range finned pilot whales live long in short-finned pilot whales cold water and live in tropical and subtropical waters. Pilot whales are among the largest of the oceanic dolphins, surpassed in size only by the killer whale.
In general,
Pilot whales are found in the northern and southern hemispheres in tropical and temperate waters worldwide. Short fin pilot whales tend to live in warmer waters, while the long-finned pilot whales are more commonly found in more temperate waters, so the two sub-species tend to remain largely separate.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Mammalia
Order:     Cetacea
Suborder:     Odontoceti
Family:     Delphinidae
Genus:     Globicephala
Globicephala macrorhynchus
Globicephala melas

Pilot whales are actually two types: Long-finned pilot whale and Short-finned pilot whale  species are second only to large killer whale in size. They have a round head with a small beak and dolphin-typical curved mouth line up. The rounded head of the male extends over the lower jaw. Pilot whales are dark gray to black in color with a lighter patch on the abdominal surface, and Short-finned pilot whales can also be a blur behind the dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is curved with a long base, and the flippers are also curved—short in Short-finned pilot whale and significantly longer in Long-finned pilot whale. Pilot whales are often found in captivity to survive and because they are easy to train. They are often associated with mass strandings of several hundred animals.

Pilot whales feed on squid and other cephalopods and small fish. These dolphins have only 40 to 48 teeth compared to 120 in other dolphin species. Pilot whales have been observed in groups to hunt their prey concentrate in the center of a pod with their vocal communication. Pilot whales often vocalize to keep in touch with members of their pod. With active behavior, sounds are more complex, while less active behavior is guided by simple sounds. Differences were found in the calls of two species of Pilot whales. Long-finned pilot whale calls are of lower frequency and narrower than short-finned pilot whale call frequency.

Pilot whales population numbers are unknown, but they are not considered endangered. There are an estimated 1 million long-finned pilot whales and short-finned pilot whales around 200,000 worldwide. Pilot whales are hunted for their meat, bones, oil, and fertilizer, a practice that continues in some areas. Because they readily adapt to captivity, pilot whales are also exhibited in many aquariums and zoos.

The long-finned pilot whale has traditionally hunted by "driving", which many fishermen and boats gather in a semicircle behind a pod of whales near the shore is, and slowly work towards a bay and are stranded and are then slaughtered. This practice was common in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Pilot whales' meat available for consumption in very limited areas of Japan, especially along the central Pacific coast, and in other parts of the world, including the Faroe Islands. The meat is high in protein (more than beef) and a low fat.In both Japan and the Faroe Islands, the meat is contaminated with mercury and cadmium, creating a health risk to humans eat often, especially children and pregnant women.

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