Pseudorca crassidens   (Owen,  1846) (Whale)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Size: New born: 1/2-2 m; Male: 6 m; Female: 5.1 m

Weight: Male: 2 tons; Female: 1 ton.

Color: The body is all black. There is a blaze of grey on the chest between the flippers, and an area of light grey may be present on the sides of the head.

The False Killer Whale is slender and long-bodied. Its blunt head is small, relative to body size. The tip of the lower jaw is usually well behind the overhanging upper jaw. The dorsal fin is tall and may be rounded at the tip or sharply pointed. It is said to be ‘cucumber shaped’. The small flippers are narrow and pointed and have a broad hump on the front margin near the middle, characteristic of the species. There are 8-11 pairs of large, conspicuous teeth of circular cross-section in each jaw, often visible in the open mouths of free ranging animals.

False Killer Whales are gregarious animals. They may also associate with other cetaceans. The tendency of the species, like that of other ‘blackfish’, to mass stand has allowed their anatomy and other aspects of their biology to be studied well. They make audible, drawn-out, high pitched sounds that can be heard above water. This allows them to be detected at distances of 200 m, sometimes above the sound of outboard engines. In its movements, it is lively and fast swimming.

Similar species: Mostly confused with Pygmy killer whales but the shape of the head, dorsal fin and flipper are diagnostic.

Synonym (s)
Globicephalus grayi Burmeister, 1867
Orca crassidens Gray, 1846
Orca destructor Cope, 1866
Orca meridionalis Flower, 1865
Phocaena crassidens Owen, 1846
Pseudorca crassidens meridionalis Deraniyagala, 1945
Pseudorca grayi Burmeister, 1872
Pseudorca mediterranea Giglioli, 1882
Pseudorca meridionalis Gray, 1866

Common Name (s)
• Blackfish (English)
• Thimingalam (Tamil)
• Bubble (English)
• False killer whale (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Incidental catches in fishing and long line. In certain regions they are killed deliberately as decline in stocks of commercially important fishes is attributed to them.)

Habitat:  Open Sea
Prey:  Fishes and cephalophods.
IUCN Status:  Data Deficient


• Tamil Nadu, Off Kanniyakumari INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Coast INDIA
• Kerala, Trivandrum Coast INDIA
• Kerala, Kozhikode Coast INDIA (Record: 1978, 1993)
• INDIA (Record: 1800-2000)
• Kerala, Trivandrum INDIA (Record: 14/02/1901, 1902)
• Kerala, Puthiyappa INDIA (Record: 28/07/1975)
• Kerala, Pozhikara INDIA (Record: 27/11/1960)
• Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram INDIA (Record: 18/10/1975)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Off Port Blair INDIA (Record: 9/6/1977)
• Kerala, Puthiyappa Beach INDIA (Record: 07/1979)
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Off Mandapam INDIA (Record: 5/7/1988)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 6/8/1992)
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Agarwal, VC and Alfred, JRB (1999) Handbook: Whales, dolphins and dugong from Indian seas ZSI, Calcutta 150 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Alfred, JRB; Das, AK and Sanyal, AK (Eds.) (1998) Faunal diversity in India ZSI, Calcutta 1-497 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Venkatraman, K; Srinivasan, M; Satyanarayana, CH and Prabhakar D (2002) Faunal diversity of Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve Conservation area series 15 ZSI 77 pp; VIII pla Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Tikader, BK and Das, AK (1985) Glimpses of animal life of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ZSI, Kolkata 1-170 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Borkar, M (2005) Marine mammals, turtles and crocodiles: A field manual NIO, Goa 63 pp Available at - NIO
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Kumaran, PL (2002) Marine mammal research in India: A review and critique of the methods Current Science Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore 83(10) 1210-1220 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Available at -
  • Padmanaban P and Dinesh K.P (2011) A checklist of Marine Mammals of India Marine Biology Reginal centre, Zoological Survey of India 4pp Available at -
  • Singh H.S (2003) Sea mammals in marine protected area in the Gulf of Kachchh, Gujarat State, India Indian Journal of Marine Science 258-262pp Available at -
  • Jefferson, TA; Leatherwood, S and Webber, MA (2006) Marine mammals of the world World biodiversity database Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-11-07

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