Blackfish (cetacean)

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Short-finned pilot whale
Globicephala macrorhynchus
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Sub-class Theriiformes
Infra-class Holotheria
Order Information
Superorder Preptotheria
Order Cetacea
Sub-order Odontoceti
Family Information
Superfamily Delphinoidea
Family Delphinidae
Population statistics

Blackfish is a generic term for several species of the family Delphinidae, and found throughout the world's oceans and seas.


"Blackfish" is a nickname describing the overall appearance of these animals as opposed to other dolphins. They range in size from 7 to 32 feet in length, and are primarily black in color, with a few having shades of dark gray; one species has bold white patches. In profile, they possess a blunted head with very little in the way of a beaked snout protruding, and a falcate dorsal fin; four species overlap in their ranges, and are difficult to identify from each other except through the shape of their dorsal fins[1][2][3].

It is unclear as to the origins of the name; it was first applied in 1634, in reference to several species of bony fish found in North American and Siberian waters[4]. The name may have been used later by fisherman and whalers; the word "fish" was used interchangeably with true fish and cetaceans for centuries, with "blackfish" coming into vogue to specifically identify the two species of pilot whale[5][6].