Notes on the pygmy killer whale <i>Feresa attenuata</i> Gray, 1874 (Cetacea: Delphinidae) in Venezuela, southeastern Caribbean


  • L. A. Bermudez-Villapol
  • A. J. Sayegh
  • M. A. Estevez
  • M. S. Rangel
  • C. Rosso
  • N. I. Vera



The pygmy killer whale Feresa attenuata Gray, 1874 is one of the species usually known as 'black fish', which is easily mistaken for the false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens (Owen 1846) and the melon-head whale, Peponocephala electra (Gray, 1846), especially in the field. Prior to 2002, there were very few data on this species in Venezuela and the only reports were based on craneometric studies of stranded animals in the western region. Five new reports on this species have been recorded since in the northeastern zone of the country, based on sightings or assistance of live-stranded animals. Detailed comparisons were made on specimens observed in the field for their corrected identification. These sightings and strandings of F. attenuata are the first reported for the Venezuelan northeast basin, thus increasing the number of reports of pygmy killer whales to seven in the country and extending their known distribution through the southern Caribbean Sea.