Peponocephala electra   (Gray,  1846) (Whale)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Image copyrights: M. Louella L. Dolar  

Size: 2.7 m

Weight: 180 kg

Color: The animal is uniformly black or dark grey on the back and sides, a little lighter on the belly. A small triangular darkening on the face that tapers towards the eyes may be seen in the field. There is a faint grey throat patch. Areas around the lips and the anal and genital regions may be light colored.

This animal resembles the False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens and the Pygmy Killer Whale Feresa attenuata. Its body is elongated and usually slim, and the tail stock is slender. The forehead is rounded, ending in rounded melon shape or a very indistinct beak. The lower portion of the face is usually slightly concave. The head appears triangular from above and below. The flippers are long and the tall dorsal fin is back-curved. There are 20-25 pairs of small, sharply pointed teeth in the upper jaw, and 20-24 pairs in the lower jaw.

This is one species called as blackfish. Very little is known of Melon-headed Whale’s natural history. It normally forms groups of 20-30, but schools of 500 are known to occur.

Synonym (s)
Delphinus (Lagenorhynchus) fusiformis Owen, 1866
Delphinus pectoralis Peale, 1848
Electra asia Gray, 1868
Electra electra Nakajima & Nishiwaki, 1965
Electra fusiformis Gray, 1868
Electra obtusa Gray, 1868
Lagenorhynchus asia Gray, 1846
Lagenorhynchus electra Gray, 1846
Lagenorhynchus pectoralis Cassin, 1858

Common Name (s)
• Melon Headed Whale (English)
• Indian Broad Beaked Dolphin (English)
• Melon Headed Dolphin (English)
• Electra Dolphin (English)
• Broad Beaked Dolphin (English)
• Many Toothed Blackfish (English)
• Little Killer Whale (English)
• Blackfish (English)
• Hawaiian Blackfish (English)
• Melon-head Whale (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Pelagic, Open Sea
Prey:  Fish and squid
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Bay of Bengal (Lat: 15) (Long: 90) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo INDIA
• INDIA (Record: 1800-2000)
• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam INDIA (Record: 23/08/1853)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Car Nicobar Island INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Agarwal, VC and Alfred, JRB (1999) Handbook: Whales, dolphins and dugong from Indian seas ZSI, Calcutta 150 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Alfred, JRB; Das, AK and Sanyal, AK (Eds.) (1998) Faunal diversity in India ZSI, Calcutta 1-497 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Molur, S and Walker, S (1998) Mammals of India. Report summary 1998 Zoos' Print Journal Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore 13(9) 7 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Kumaran, PL (2002) Marine mammal research in India: A review and critique of the methods Current Science Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore 83(10) 1210-1220 Available at -
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Sealifebase Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Padmanaban P and Dinesh K.P (2011) A checklist of Marine Mammals of India Marine Biology Reginal centre, Zoological Survey of India 4pp Available at -
  • Singh H.S (2003) Sea mammals in marine protected area in the Gulf of Kachchh, Gujarat State, India Indian Journal of Marine Science 258-262pp Available at -
  • Jefferson, TA; Leatherwood, S and Webber, MA (2006) Marine mammals of the world World biodiversity database Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-11-07

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