First Record of Predation on False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

Abstract: The first record of killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation on false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) is reported here. On 25 March 2010, a group of 50 to 60 false killer whales, including approximately 15 calves and accompanied by three to five bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.), were sighted in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Within 30 min, they were approached by a group of approximately eight killer whales. Five false killer whales were attacked, with at least three rammed from below, forcing them out of the water. After 29 min, the killer whales were milling at the surface and feeding on the carcass of a false killer whale calf, possibly the only individual killed. The killer whales had prolific fresh and healed oval wounds, which were attributed to cookie cutter shark (Isistius sp.) bites.

Key Words: feeding, predator, prey, mixed-species group, cetacean, killer whale, Orcinus orca, false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens, cookie cutter shark, Isistius sp.

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.36.2.2010.195

Page Numbers: 195-204

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