Hawaiian Island Cetaceans

Pygmy Killer Whale

Scientific Name - Feresa attenuate

Average Length - Male: 2.6m, Female: 2.5m

Photo Credit: © Robin W. Baird/Cascadia Research Collective


Pygmy Killer whales have been sighted off of Oahu, Ni’ihau, and Lanai. The Hawaiian stock is estimated at 3,433. Past strandings in the Hawaiian islands suggest that pygmy killer whales  these incidents have eat fish and cephalopods in Hawaiian waters. Pods are typically composed of 12-50 individuals. These dolphins have a round blunt head which lacks the distinct beak characteristic of most other dolphins. They also have irregularly shaped white patches in between their fins, on the stock of the fluke, and around their lips. Pygmy killer whales can easily be confused with melon-headed whales. Two satellite tagged individuals off the Big Island did not leave the area for the duration of the time they were tagged (22 days) suggesting a possible resident stock in this  area.

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