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Dolphin Species: Long-finned Pilot Whale
Globicephala melas

The long-finned pilot whale is not actually a whale, but a dolphin . Along with the related short-finned pilot whale, this species was once called a 'pothead', as the bulbous head was thought to resemble a black cooking pot by the early whalers that first encountered the species. The Latin name of this genus, Globicephala, meaning 'globe head' also refers to the shape of the head. The stocky body is black or dark grey in colour with a white stripe passing diagonally behind the eye , a greyish area on the belly, and an anchor-shaped grey patch on the chin. As the common name of this species suggests, the sickle-shaped pectoral fins (flippers) are very long, there is a single blowhole, and the dorsal fin is placed forwards on the body. The range of this species and the short-finned pilot whale overlap in some areas, and it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two, particularly as it is often difficult to see the flippers.


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