Killer Whale Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia: Cetartiodactyla: Delphinidae) predation on Sperm Whales Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758 (Mammalia: Cetartiodactyla: Physeteridae) in the Gulf of Mannar, Sri Lanka

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Ranil P. Nanayakkara
Andrew Sutton
Philip Hoare
Thomas A. Jefferson


To date in Sri Lankan waters, there has been limited research on Killer Whales.  These animals have been recorded almost all around the island, except in the northernmost waters and in Palk Bay.  The highest observed concentrations are from the northeastern, south/southwestern and northwestern coastal waters of Sri Lanka.  These have come from both opportunistic observations and dedicated scientific surveys.  Seasonal trends in sightings in some locations suggest fairly consistent occupancy.  Transient Killer Whales have been documented attacking/killing Sperm Whales from many geographic locations around the world.  To date, there is only one published account of Killer Whales feeding in Sri Lankan waters.  Our paper presents, for the first time, field observations of Killer Whales preying upon superpods of Sperm Whales in the waters off the Kalpitiya Peninsula (eastern half of the Gulf of Mannar), northwestern Sri Lanka.  The incidents took place on two separate occasions during the months of March and April, 2017.

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