Pseudorca crassidens (Owen, 1846:516)

False killer whale



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Phocaena crassidens Owen, 1846:516 (basionym); Orca meridionalis Flower, 1865:420


Conservation Status

Rediscovered in 1861



Worldwide (mainly tropical)

Type locality: "Lincolnshire fens, near Stanford, England" (Bannister, 1988:207)

Type locality (meridionalis): Tasmania (Bannister, 1988:207)


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: gregarious, piscivore, oceanic, pelagic, predator; diet mainly cephalopods and large fish."

(Bannister, 1988:207)



"Type data: holotype, Subfossil skull, not in BMNH zoology or palaeontology collections" (Bannister, 1988:207)

Syntypes (meridionalis): RCSE (2 skulls) (Bannister, 1988:207)






Original scientific description:

Owen, Richard. (1846). A History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds. London: John van Voorst.


Other references:

Aitken, P. F. (1971). Whales from the coast of South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 95: 95-103.

Baird, R. W. (2018a). False killer whale Pseudorca crassidens, pp. 347-349. In: Würsig, B., Thewissen, J. G. M. and Kovacs, K. M. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, 3rd Edition. San Diego: Academic Press.

Baird, R. W. (2018b). Pseudorca crassidens (errata version published in 2019). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T18596A145357488. Accessed on 26 August 2022.

Baird, R. W. (2023). False Killer Whale, Pseudorca crassidens, pp. 817-819. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

Bannister, J. L. (1988). Delphinidae, pp. 201-210. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 5. Mammalia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. x + 273 pp. [p. 207]

Bryden, M. M. (1978). Whales and whaling in Queensland waters. Proc. R. Soc. Qd. 89: v-xviii.

Flower, W. H. (1865). A new species of Grampus (Orca meridionalis) from Tasmania. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864: 420-426.

Guiler, E. R. (1978). Whale strandings in Tasmania since 1945 with notes on some seal reports. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 112: 189-213.

Hershkovitz, P. (1966). Catalog of living whales. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 246: viii + 259 pp.

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 369]

Leatherwood, S. and Reeves, R. R. (1983). The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. xviii + 302 pp.

Mallon, D., Hilton-Taylor, C., Allen, D. and Harding, K. (2019). UAE National Red List of Mammals: Marine and Terrestrial. A report to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates. IUCN Global Species Programme. 74 pp.

Ministério do Ambiente. (2018). Lista Vermelha de especies de Angola: Extintas, ameaçadas de extinção, vulneráveis e invasoras. Angola: Ministério do Ambiente.

Palmer, C., Baird, R. W., Webster, D. L., Edwards, A. C., Patterson, R., Withers, A., Withers, E., Groom, R. and Woinarski, John C. Z. (2017). A preliminary study of the movement patterns of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in the coastal and pelagic waters of the Northern Territory, Australia. Mar. Freshw. Res. 68: 1726-1733.

Warneke, R. M. (1983). Whale stranding - accident or design. Aust. Nat. Hist. 21: 43-47.

Watson, L. (1981). Sea Guide to Whales of the World. London: Hutchinson. 302 pp.


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