False orca or false killer whale - Characteristics, Feeding and Conservation

False killer whale or false killer whale: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), also called...

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The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), also called the false killer whale, is a cetacean in the family Delphinidae, and it is the only species of its genus. Also, there are no subspecies. Its name comes from its strong resemblance to the common killer whale.

Unlike the latter, the false killer whale is smaller in size and its coloring is different, since it is a little grayer and does not have the characteristic white spots of the common killer whale. In addition, its smaller size makes it more agile than the true killer whale.Keep reading this breed sheet from PlanèteAnimal and you will learn all about the false orca or false killer whale, its characteristics, its customs and much more.


  • Africa
  • America
  • Antarctica
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania

Characteristics of the false orca or false killer whale

Although it can easily be confused with the common killer whale, this species is smaller and the male can weigh more than 2000 kg and have a length of 6 meters; females, on the other hand, reach more than 1,000 kg and their length reaches about 5 meters. Its coloration is greyish-black, and may be lighter on the head. Its body is more elongated and thinner than that of the common killer whale, with a rounded dorsal fin and the caudal fin much smaller than the body.Its teeth are curved and similar to those of the common killer whale, and they have over 40 teeth in total.

Habitat of the false orca or false killer whale

This species is distributed in all the tropical, subtropical and temperate seas of the world, although in the latter they are observed to a lesser degree, preferring waters between 9° and 30° C. In general, they generally do not swim in great depths, as they are a pelagic species, open water being their preferred habitat. They are also observed in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

As mentioned, there is not much information on this species, with most research being conducted in Hawaii. Thanks to these studies, we know that in certain regions, their population oscillates at more than 40,000,000 individuals.

Customs of the False Killer Whale or Black Killer Whale

Although this species is not well known and there are not many studies on it, details about it have been revealed through strandings. It is known that like the rest of the dolphins, the false killer whales are gregarious animals and that they can form groups of more than 1000 individuals, but the most common is to observe schools of 50 to 100 specimens.

In addition, the groups are made up of individuals of different ages and have a fairly marked social hierarchy, and they communicate through different sounds, like other species of dolphins, which help them identify, locate their prey when they hunt.

Feeding the false orca or false killer whale

The diet of the false killer whale is very varied. This cetacean can eat large fish, such as tuna and hake, but it also feeds on squid, octopus and jellyfish. They can feed day and night, and like the common killer whale, they hunt in groups and with similar tactics, and they can also hunt seals and even baby dolphins and whales.Their strong and curved teeth allow them to effectively capture their prey because, in addition, they are agile and fast predators.

Reproduction of the false orca or false killer whale

The false killer whale females reach sexual maturity before the males, between 2 and 11 years old, while in males they can reach it between 8 and 14 years old. This species does not have a marked or specific mating season, since it can do so in any season of the year.

Gestation time is around 15 months, giving birth to cubs over one meter long that weigh around 80 kg. They have a high longevity, as females can live over 60 years and males easily reach 50.

State of conservation of the false orca or killer whale

Due to the lack of studies, this species is not classified by the IUCN, being insufficiently known (DD).However, it is known that there are several threats to the false killer whale, the main ones being those caused by humans, such as direct hunting to obtain its meat, accidental capture and contamination of waters by toxins and plastics.

False orca or killer whale photos

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