Pygmy killer whale Feresa attenuata Gray, 1874

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Delphinidae

Sightings in Madeira

May 2009

ID characteristics

Robust, dark-coloured body with narrow blackish cape and white belly patch
Relatively tall and falcate dorsal fin, sometimes pointed.
Round melon-shaped head, no beak, with white lips

Surface behaviour

Normally a slow swimmer.
Tends to avoid boats though occasionally bow-rides
Small groups sometimes roll synchronously, shoulder-to-shoulder


Worldwide between parallels 40º North and 35º South
Tropical and subtropical waters of all major oceans


In groups between 15 to 25 whales


Squid, fish and small seals


Max length: 2.6 m
Adult weight: 110 to 17 kg


Low round bush shaped not often seen

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Only 1 record

Other languages common names

GER - Zwerggrindwal
FRA - Orque pygmée, Orque naine
ESP - Orca pigmea
SWE - Dvärgspäckhuggare
ITA - Feresa
NED - Dwerggriend
POL - Orka najmniejsza
POR - Orca anã, Orca pigméia

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