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False Killer Whale - Pseudorca crasidens
Photo by Doug Perrine/

False killer whales are a gregarious species usually found in groups of 10 to 20 individuals that typically belong to a larger group of several hundred individuals. As their names suggests, these animals resemble killer whales and are mostly black on their dorsal surface but sometimes have a grey or white underside. However, they are biologically quite distinct from true killer whales and rarely attack mammalian prey. False killer whales have a relatively low reproductive rate and have been known to strand together in large numbers.

False Killer Whale
(Pseudorca crasidens)

All tropical and warm temperate water

Mostly offshore in waters deeper than 3,300 feet (1,000 meters)

Large variety of fish and squid


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
False killer whales are infamous in the fishing industry for stealing valuable fish from baited longlines.

Learn More
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture