Tue, 07/16/2019 - 19:00

A pod of about 40 long-finned PILOT WHALES were spotted close to Reykjavík today! They are not very common in this area as they tend to stay further offshore and in deeper waters, but we have seen them in the bay on a few occasions throughout the years.

Pilot whales are a large species of oceanic dolphin, pod animals, that have a leader whom they follow. They are a stranding concern since if one if them wanders too close to shore, the others will follow. In the past we have seen them a bit too close to land and have had to help them find their way back to open waters.

Learn more about pilot whales: elding.is/pilot-whales

UPDATE: The whales (likely the same pod) was found stranded on a beach in Snæfellsnes peninsula.. icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/news/2019/07/19/dozens_of_beached_whales_in_snaefellsnes/

"Despite its common name, the long-finned pilot whale is actually a large species of dolphin. The same is true of orcas and several other small whales. It has a bulbous forehead and is black or dark grey in colour with light-grey or white markings on the throat and belly regions. This light grey patch found on the throat of pilot whales forms the shape of an anchor. Some individuals have other distinct markings such as a light coloured area behind dorsal fin, known as a saddle patch, as well as an upwards sweeping stripe just behind the eye. The dorsal fin is thick and falcate in nature, and is located about a third of the way down the length of the animal. The common name of this species is a reference to the pilot whale's long, sickle-shaped pectoral flippers that are 18 to 27 percent of its total body length. Being a toothed whale, pilot whales have a single blowhole.

It can be challenging to tell male and female apart in the wild for many cetacean species. Long-finned pilot whales are no exception, though it was thought in the past that males had hooked dorsal fins while females did not. Recent research on fin shape has shown that this is not a predictable way to distinguish between the sexes. However, males are bigger in size, and relative fin dimensions as well as other characteristics may still be discovered to allow for distinguishing the sex of at least certain age classes for free-ranging pilot whales.

The ranges of long-finned and short-finned pilot whales overlap in some areas of the world. As the difference between them is mainly distinguished by the length of the pectoral flippers and tooth counts, it is extremely hard to tell the two species apart in these areas."

Text from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-finned_pilot_whale