Species: Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)
Physical appearance: An average sized dolphin with very active, lively tendencies, with dark gray to black coloring and a long, pointed dorsal fin. Flippers are also pointed, and they have a distinct white coloring around their lips. It bears some resemblance to the killer whale Orcinus orca, hence the name, though it’s not closely related.
Habitat: Generally found in tropical and sub-tropical oceans, usually staying in deep, open waters.
Conservation status: Data Deficient
Threats: This species is sometimes killed in driftnets and occasionally drive hunts, though not in as large numbers as other small cetacean species. They are likely threatened by overfishing and marine pollution.
Socialization: They are typically seen in groups of 10 or more. Because this species is poorly studied, not much is known about their interactions. They are often described as being aggressive to other dolphin species, indeed, many feel that they deserve the “killer whale” name more than the orca does. A couple of pygmy killer whales taken into captivity even killed other dolphins that shared a tank with them, and behaved aggressively toward trainers.
Predators and prey: The pygmy killer whale feeds on squid, octopus, and large fish. It’s been speculated that they may eat other dolphins that they attack. Due to their aggressive nature, they may not have many predators, though great white sharks and orcas could prey on them.
Relationships with humans: This species generally avoids humans, though will occasionally bowride. A few are sometimes intentionally killed for food, though they’ve never been hunted on a large scale.