The Short-finned pilot whale – Globicephala macrorhynchus – Calderón tropical is a large, deep-diving whale found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. With their distinctive black or dark gray coloration, rounded forehead, and prominent dorsal fin, these highly social animals are known for traveling in groups of 10 to over 100 individuals and are capable of diving to depths of up to 600 meters in search of their prey. While their conservation status is currently classified as “Data Deficient,” the Short-finned pilot whale is protected under national law in Spain
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Whale and dolphin watching in Spain
The Short-finned pilot whale, also known as the tropical pilot whale or Calderón tropical, is a member of the dolphin family, Delphinidae. They are large, robust whales with a rounded forehead, a prominent dorsal fin, and short, stocky flippers. The body coloration is mostly black or dark gray, with a lighter patch on the belly and throat. Adult males can reach lengths of up to 6.5 meters (21 feet) and weigh up to 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds), while adult females are slightly smaller, reaching lengths of up to 5.5 meters (18 feet) and weighing up to 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds).
Habitat and Behavior
Short-finned pilot whales are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. They are highly social animals, traveling in groups of 10 to over 100 individuals, and often remain in their natal groups for life. They are deep divers, capable of reaching depths of up to 600 meters (1,970 feet) in search of squid and fish. Pilot whales are known for their mass stranding behavior, where large groups of animals will beach themselves together, often resulting in the death of many individuals.
Short-finned pilot whales are opportunistic feeders, consuming a variety of prey including squid, octopus, fish, and crustaceans. They are known to dive to great depths to catch their prey, using echolocation to locate their food.
Female Short-finned pilot whales have a gestation period of approximately 15 months and typically give birth to a single calf every 3 to 5 years. Calves are born weighing around 60-80 kg (130-180 pounds) and are nursed for up to two years.
The Short-finned pilot whale is classified as “Data Deficient” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While there is evidence of population declines in some areas, the lack of information on population sizes and trends makes it difficult to assess their conservation status.
The Short-finned pilot whale – Globicephala macrorhynchus – Calderón tropical status in Spain
In Spain, the Short-finned pilot whale is protected under national law and is listed as “Vulnerable” in the Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species. They are known to occur in Spanish waters, particularly around the Canary Islands and the Gulf of Cadiz.
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