AZORES : Peixe boi / negro - POR : Baleia piloto - GB : long-finned pilot whale – FR : Globicéphale noir - GER : Gewöhnlicher Grindwal - NEDER : gewone griend
The pilot whale is either of two species of cetacean in the genus Globicephala. The genus is part of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae) although their behaviour is closer to that of the larger whales. The two species are the Long-finned Pilot Whale and the Short-finned Pilot Whale.
Pilot Whales are jet black or a very dark grey colour. The dorsal fin is set forward on the back and sweeps back. The body is elongated but stocky and narrows abruptly toward the tail fin.
The differences in appearance of the two species are quite subtle but may be distinguished by the length of flipper, the number of teeth and the shape of the skull:
Birth weight of calves is roughly 100 kg. Adult males can reach up to 20 feet (6.1 m) and weigh up to 3 tons. Adult females measure up to 16 feet (4.9 m) and weigh up to 1.5 tons. Life span is about 45 years in males and 60 years in females for both species.
They live in groups of about 10 to 30 in number on average but some groups may be 100 or more. They are quite active and will frequently lobtail, spyhop and approach boats.
Pilot Whales feed predominantly on squid.
The Long-finned species prefers slightly cooler waters. They inhabits the North Atlantic Ocean, in a band that runs from South Carolina in the United States across to the Azores.
They like deep water.
Espaço Talassa team has observed this species for the first time on May, 4th 2007, 3 miles to the south of São João do Pico.