Pygmy Killer Whale
Feresa attenuata


Scientific Name: Feresa attenuata

Other Names: Slender Blackfish, Slender Pilotwhale

Suborder: Odontoceti

Family: Delphinidae 


This dolphin is dark grey with a narrow, darker cape which dips shallowly under its tall dorsal fin, a small patch of white on the belly and white lips and chin (extent variable). It has a round head with no beak and moderately long flippers.

Pygmy Killer Whales often travel in small groups, tend to avoid boats and are rarely acrobatic.

Maximum Length
Adult: 2.1 -2.6 m
Calf: 0.8 m

Maximum Width
Adult: 110 - 170 kg

Pygmy Killer Whale Ecology

Range: Tropical and sub-tropical waters

Usual Habitat: Generally found in deep waters , rarely near land

Usual group size: 15 - 25 but sometimes 100

Main Diet: Cephalopods and small fish, perhaps Stenella and Short-beaked Common Dolphins

Local population: Unknown

 Global range of the Pygmy KillerWhale

Pygmy Killer Whales are likely to be found in the dark blue areas

 Conservation Information

Protection and Conservation Status

IUCN Conservation Status: 
Pygmy Killer Whales are listed as "Data Deficient" on the IUCN red list.

SPAW Protocol:  Pygmy Killer Whales are cetaceans, which are listed under Annex II of the SPAW protocol. As such they require total protection under article 11 of this protocol which prohibits the "taking, possession, killing and commercial trade of the species, their parts or products". The SPAW protocol was created to help with the implementation and promotion of the Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Annexes of the SPAW protocol can be found here.

Local Laws: Cetaceans are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act of Trinidad and Tobago which offers protection to all species not listed under the second or third schedules of this act.  

Reports of Pygmy Killer Whales in Trinidad and Tobago
This is currently being researched and written. It will appear here shortly.

The above information was obtained from the following sources:

  • A Princeton Field Guide: Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett (2006)
  • Smithsonian Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine and illustrated by Martin Camm (2002)
  • The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society's Species Guide at
  • The IUCN Redlist at
  • The SPAW protocol Annexes with links available at,83

We would like to thank the following people for the use of the art work and photographs:

  • Al√ęsha Naranjit (Illustration of Pygmy Killer Whale)
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