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Pilot whales are among the largest of the
oceanic dolphins, exceeded in size only by the Orca. They and other
large members of the dolphin family are also known as blackfish.
Pilot whales are primarily squid eaters, but
they will feed on fish as well. They are also highly social and studies
suggest that both males and females remain in their mothers' pods, an
unusual trait among mammals, but also found in certain Orca communities.
Pilot whales are mostly dark grey, brown or
black, but have some light areas such as a grey saddle pitch behind the
dorsal fin. Other light areas are an anchor-shaped patch under the chin,
a faint blaze marking behind the eye, a large marking on the belly and a
genital patch. The dorsal fin is set forward on the back and sweeps
backwards. A Pilot whale is more robust than most dolphins and has a
distinctive large, bulbous melon. Pilot whales have long, sickle-shaped
flippers and tail stocks that are flattened from side to side.