The 5 secrets of the Tenerife pilot whale
Fourth secret of the Pilot Whale
The 5 secrets of the Tenerife pilot whale, Fourth secret. A marvellous design.
What is the difference between the short-finned pilot whale and the long-finned pilot whale?
The short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and the long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) are two different species of pilot dolphins or pilot whales belonging to the same family, the Delphinidae. Some of the differences between these two species are detailed below:
Geographic distribution: The short-finned pilot whale is found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, while the long-finned pilot whale is found mainly in cold, temperate waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific.
Body size and shape: The short-finned pilot whale is slightly larger than the long-finned pilot whale, with a more robust body and a larger, rounded head.
Dorsal fin: The dorsal fin of the short-finned pilot whale is taller and curved backwards, while that of the long-finned pilot whale is shorter and straighter.
Colouring: The short-finned pilot whale has a more distinctive colouration pattern, with a dark grey or black body and a white spot on the head extending towards the throat. The short-finned pilot whale also has a dark grey or black body, but its head is more rounded and its white spot is smaller.
Behaviour: The short-finned pilot whale is known to be a more active and acrobatic species, while the long-finned pilot whale is calmer and less likely to jump and perform acrobatics in the air.
In summary, the short-finned pilot whale and the long-finned pilot whale are two distinct species of pilot dolphins that differ in their geographic distribution, body size and shape, colouring and behaviour. Both species are fascinating and highly intelligent, and are among the most impressive and majestic cetaceans in the marine world.
What do we see in the Canary Islands?
The short-finned pilot whales we see in Tenerife can reach a length of about 7 metres and weigh between 1000 and 4000 kg. Normally, the males are longer and heavier than the females. Juveniles are characterised by a light grey colour, which turns black when they become adults. In addition, they have white spots on the ventral area. Their head, known as melon, has a very characteristic rounded shape. Their fin, also rounded and short, is one of the first distinguishing features that allow us to differentiate pilot whales from dolphins on our sighting trips.
It is precisely the fin that is the main apparent difference between the short-finned pilot whale and the long-finned pilot whale, as this cetacean species has a more elongated fin. In addition to that, it has more teeth. Otherwise, their external appearance is almost identical.
Whale and dolphin watching
Enjoy the most amazing whale and dolphin experience in Tenerife.