List of cetaceans

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Cetaceans
Temporal range: Early Eocene – recent
Bottlenose dolphin breaching
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Brisson, 1762

This is a list of cetaceans. The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. It has around 90 living species, divided into the suborders Odontoceti (the toothed whales, including dolphins and porpoises) and Mysticeti (the baleen whales). In addition, numerous species of extinct cetaceans exist, but they are not listed here. This list contains only the known, extant cetacean species including several recent discoveries (the baiji is also included, though it is believed to have gone extinct in 2006).

Cetaceans are aquatic mammals characterised by having fusiform (streamlined) body shapes, paddle-shaped front limbs and vestigial hind limbs. Their tails have been flattened into flukes to aid propulsion.


Suborder Mysticeti: baleen whales[edit]

The baleen whales, also called whalebone whales or great whales, form the Mysticeti, one of two suborders of the Cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises). Baleen whales are characterized by having baleen plates for filtering food from water, rather than having teeth, as with the Odontocetes. This distinguishes them from the other suborder of cetaceans, the toothed whales or Odontoceti. Living Mysticeti species have teeth only during the embryonal phase. Fossil Mysticeti had teeth before baleen evolved.


Family Balaenidae: right whales[edit]

The Balaenidae family of cetaceans contains two genera. Commonly called the right whales, it contains mainly right whale species. This name can be confusing, however, since one of the species is the bowhead whale, which is different from the right whale. All the Balaenidae whales have the following features: a smooth belly and chin, with no ventral grooves; a distinctive head shape with strongly arched, narrow rostrum (anatomy) and bowed lower jaw; lower lips that enfold the sides and front of the rostrum; long, narrow, elastic baleen plates (up to 9 times longer longer than wide) with fine baleen fringes; the fusion of all the cervical vertebrae and other skeletal characteristics; and a slow swimming speed.[1]

Genus Balaena Linnaeus, 1758 – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus
Linnaeus, 1758
Least Concern (LC) 8,000–9,200 Cetacea range map Bowhead Whale.png Bowhead whale size.svg
60 tonnes
Bowheads42.jpg
Genus Eubalaena Gray, 1864 – 3 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis
Müller, 1776
Endangered (EN) 300 Eubalaena glacialis range map.png Right whale size.svg
40–80 tonnes
Eubalaena glacialis with calf.jpg
North Pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica
Lacépède, 1818
EN 200 Eubalaena japonica range map.png Right whale size.svg
60–80 tonnes
Eubalaena japonica drawing.jpg
Southern right whale Eubalaena australis
Desmoulins, 1822
Least Concern (LC) 7,000 Cetacea range map Southern Right Whale.png Right whale size.svg
40–80 tonnes
Southern right whale10.jpg

Family Balaenopteridae: rorquals[edit]

Rorquals are the largest group of baleen whales, with 9 species in two genera. They include the largest animal that has ever lived, the blue whale, which can reach 150 tonnes, two others that easily pass 50 tonnes, and even the smallest of the group, the northern minke whale, reaches 9 tonnes. They take their name from a Norwegian word meaning "furrow whale": all members of the family have a series of longitudinal folds of skin running from below the mouth back to the navel (except the sei whale, which has shorter grooves). These are understood to allow the mouth to expand immensely when feeding.[citation needed] All rorquals have ventral grooves, and are the only cetaceans to have them. Additionally, they all have dorsal fins, broad, gently curving rostra and short baleen plates.[1]

Subfamily Balaenopterinae – one genus, eight species
Genus Balaenoptera – eight species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus
Linnaeus, 1758
EN 10,000–25,000 Cetacea range map Blue Whale.PNG Blue whale size.svg
100–120 tonnes
Bluewhale877.jpg
Bryde's whale Balaenoptera brydei
Olsen, 1913
Data deficient (DD) 90,000–100,000 Balaenoptera brydei range.png Bryde's whale size.svg
14–30 tonnes
Balaenoptera brydei.jpg
Common minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Lacépède, 1804
Least Concern (LC) Unknown Cetacea range map Minke Whale.png Minke whale size.svg
6-11 tonnes
Minke.jpg
Fin whale Balaenoptera physalus
Linnaeus, 1758
EN 100,000 Cetacea range map Fin Whale.PNG Fin whale size.svg
45–75 tonnes
LMazzuca Fin Whale.jpg
Omura's whale Balaenoptera omurai
Wada et al., 2003
Data deficient (DD) Unknown [cetacean needed]
Pygmy Bryde's whale Balaenoptera edeni
Anderson, 1879
Data deficient (DD) Unknown [cetacean needed] Rorcual Edeni.jpg
Sei whale Balaenoptera borealis
Lesson, 1828
EN 57,000 Cetacea range map Sei Whale.PNG Sei whale size.svg
20–25 tonnes
Balaenoptera borealis 2.jpg
Southern minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis
Burmeister, 1867
Data Deficient (DD) 515,000 Cetacea range map Antarctic Minke Whale.png Minke whale size.svg
6-10 tonnes
Minke whale in ross sea.jpg
Subfamily Megapterinae – 1 genus, 1 species
Genus Megaptera Gray, 1846 – 1 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae
Borowski, 1781
LC 80,000 Cetacea range map Humpback Whale.png Humpback whale size.svg
25–30 tonnes
Humpback Whale underwater shot.jpg

Family Eschrichtiidae: gray whale[edit]

The gray whale has been placed in a family of its own as it is sufficiently different from the right whales and the rorquals. The gray whale is the only benthic feeding baleen whale, filtering small organisms from the mud of shallow seas. They also have a gestation period of over a year, which is unusual for baleen whales.[1]

Genus Eschrichtius – 1 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Gray whale Eschrichtius robustus
Lilljeborg, 1861
LC 26,000 Cetacea range map Gray Whale.png Gray whale size.svg
15–40 tonnes
Gray whale.jpg

Family Neobalaenidae: pygmy right whale[edit]

The pygmy right whale shares several characteristics with the right whales, although having dorsal fins separates them from right whales, and they have a very distinctive jaw configuration. Pygmy right whales' heads are no more than one-fourth the size of their bodies, whereas the right whales' heads are about one-third the size of their bodies.[1]

Genus Caperea Gray, 1864 – 1 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata
Gray, 1846
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Pygmy Right Whale.png Pygmy right whale size.svg
3-3.5 tonnes
Caperea marginata 3.jpg

Suborder Odontoceti: toothed whales[edit]

The toothed whales (systematic name Odontoceti) form a suborder of the cetaceans. As the name suggests, the suborder is characterized by having teeth (rather than baleen). Toothed whales are active hunters, feeding on fish, squid, and in some cases other marine mammals.

Family Delphinidae: oceanic dolphins[edit]

Oceanic dolphins are the members of the Delphinidae family of cetaceans. These aquatic mammals are related to whales and porpoises. As the name implies, these dolphins tend to be found in the open seas, unlike the river dolphins, although a few species such as the Irrawaddy dolphin are coastal or riverine. Six of the larger species in the Delphinidae, the killer whale (orca) and its relatives, are commonly called whales, rather than dolphins. They are also sometimes collectively known as "blackfish".

The Delphinidae are characterised by having distinct beaks (unlike the Phocoenidae), two or more fused cervical vertebrae and 20 or more pairs of teeth in their upper jaws. None is more than 4 m long.[1]

Genus Cephalorhynchus Gray, 1846 – four species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Commerson's dolphin Cephalorhynchus commersonii
Lacépède, 1804
DD 3,400 Cetacea range map Commerson's Dolphin.PNG Commerson's dolphin size.svg
35–60 kilograms
Commdolph01.jpg
Chilean dolphin Cephalorhynchus eutropia
Gray, 1846
NT Unknown Cetacea range map Chilean Dolphin.PNG Chilean dolphin size.svg
60 kg
Tonino.jpg
Heaviside's dolphin Cephalorhynchus heavisidii
Gray, 1828
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Heaviside's Dolphin.PNG Heaviside's dolphin size.svg
40–75 kg
Heaviside-Delphin.jpg
Hector's dolphin Cephalorhynchus hectori
Van Beneden, 1881
EN 2,000–2,500 Cetacea range map Hector's Dolphin.PNG Hector's dolphin size.svg
35–60 kg
Hectors Dolphin.jpg
Genus Steno – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Rough-toothed dolphin Steno bredanensis
Lesson, 1828
LC 150,000 Cetacea range map Rough-toothed Dolphin.PNG Rough-toothed dolphin size.svg
100–135 kg
Rough toothed dolphin.jpg
Genus Sousa – three species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Atlantic humpback dolphin Sousa teuszi
Kükenthal, 1892
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Atlantic Humpback Dolphin.PNG Humpback dolphins size.svg
100–150 kg
Indian humpback dolphin Sousa plumbea
Cuvier, 1829
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Indian Humpback Dolphin.PNG Humpback dolphins size.svg
150–200 kg
Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis
Osbeck, 1765
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Pacific Humpback Dolphin.PNG Humpback dolphins size.svg
250–280 kg
Pink Dolphin.JPG
Genus Sotalia – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Costero Sotalia guianensis
Bénéden, 1864
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Tucuxi.png
Solid colour
Tucuxi size.svg
35–45 kg
Tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis
Gervais & Deville, 1853
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Tucuxi.png
Hashed colour
Tucuxi size.svg
35–45 kg
DELFIN DEL ORINOCO2.JPG
Genus Tursiops – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Montagu, 1821
DD Unknown Cypron-Range Tursiops truncatus.svg Bottlenose dolphin size.svg
150–650 kg
Bottlenose Dolphin KSC04pd0178.jpg
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin Tursiops aduncus
Ehrenberg, 1833
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Bottlenose Dolphin.png [cetacean needed]
230 kg
Tursiops aduncus, Port River, Adelaide, Australia - 2003.jpg
Burrunan dolphin Tursiops australis DD Unknown [cetacean needed] Burrunan Dolphin (Tursiops australis)-B.png
Genus Stenella Gray, 1866 – five species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Atlantic spotted dolphin Stenella frontalis
Cuvier, 1829
DD 100,000 Verbreitungsgebiet des Zügeldelfins Stenella frontalis.PNG Atlantic spotted dolphin size.svg
100 kg
Stenella frontalis.JPG
Clymene dolphin Stenella clymene
Gray, 1846
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Clymene Dolphin.png Clymene dolphin size.svg
75–80 kg
Clymenes.jpg
Pantropical spotted dolphin Stenella attenuata
Gray, 1846
CD 3,000,000 Cetacea range map Pantropical Spotted Dolphin.PNG Pantropical spotted dolphin size.svg
100 kg
Schlankdelfin.jpg
Spinner dolphin Stenella longirostris
Gray, 1828
CD Unknown Cetacea range map Spinner Dolphin.PNG Spinner dolphin size.svg
90 kg
Spinner dolphins.jpg
Striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba
Meyen, 1833
CD 2,000,000 Cetacea range map Striped Dolphin.PNG Striped dolphin size.svg
100 kg
StripedDolpin.jpg
Genus Delphinus – three species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis
Linnaeus, 1758
LC Cetacea range map Short-beaked Common Dolphin.PNG Common dolphin size.svg
70–110 kg
Delphinus delphis with calf.jpg
Arabian common dolphin Delphinus tropicalis
van Bree, 1971
Unknown Unknown Delphinus tropicalis size.svg
65–105 kg
Long-beaked common dolphin Delphinus capensis
Gray, 1828
CD Unknown[2] Cetacea range map Long-beaked Common Dolphin.PNG Common dolphin size.svg
80–150 kg
Dolphins Oman-2.jpg
Genus Lagenodelphis – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Fraser's dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei
Fraser, 1956
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Fraser'sDolphin.png Fraser's dolphin size.svg
209 kg
Frazer´s dolphin group.jpg
Genus Lagenorhynchus Gray, 1846 – six species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Atlantic white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus acutus
Gray, 1828
LC 200,000 – 300,000 Cetacea range map Atlantic White-sided Dolphin.PNG Atlantic white-sided dolphin size.svg
235 kg
Lagenorhyncus acutus.jpg
Dusky dolphin Lagenorhynchus obscurus
Gray, 1828
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Dusky Dolphin.PNG Dusky dolphin size.svg
100 kg
DuskyDolphin.jpg
Hourglass dolphin Lagenorhynchus cruciger
Quoy & Gaimard, 1824
LC 140,000 Cetacea range map Hourglass Dolphin.PNG Hourglass dolphin size.svg
90–120 kg
Hourglas dolphin.jpg
Pacific white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
Gill, 1865
LC 1,000,000 Cetacea range map Pacific White-sided Dolphin.PNG Pacific white-sided dolphin size.svg
85–150 kg
Pacific white side dolphin.jpg
Peale's dolphin Lagenorhynchus australis
Peale, 1848
DD Unknown[3] Cetacea range map Black-chinned Dolphin.PNG Peale's dolphin size.svg
115 kg
Lagenorhynchus australis.jpg
White-beaked dolphin Lagenorhynchus albirostris
Gray, 1846
LC 100,000[4] Cetacea range map White-beaked Dolphin.PNG White-beaked dolphin size.svg
180 kg
White beaked dolphin.jpg
Genus Lissodelphis – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Northern right whale dolphin Lissodelphis borealis
Peale, 1848
LC 400,000[5] Cetacea range map Northern Right Whale Dolphin.PNG Northern right whale dolphin size.svg
115 kg
Northern right whale dolphin.jpg
Southern right whale dolphin Lissodelphis peronii
Lacépède, 1804
DD Unknown[6] Cetacea range map Southern Right Whale Dolphin.PNG Southern right whale dolphin size.svg
60–100 kg
Genus Grampus – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus
G. Cuvier, 1812
DD Unknown[7] Grampus griseus distribution.png Risso's dolphin size.svg
300 kg
Rundkopfdelfin.jpg
Genus Peponocephala – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Melon-headed whale Peponocephala electra
Gray, 1846
LC Unknown[8] Cetacea range map Melon-headed Whale.PNG Melon-headed whale size.svg
225 kg
Melon-headed whale large.jpg
Genus Feresa – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Pygmy killer whale Feresa attenuata
Gray, 1875
DD Unknown[9] Cetacea range map Pygmy Killer Whale.PNG Pygmy killer whale size.svg
160–350 kg
Genus Pseudorca – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
False killer whale Pseudorca crassidens
Owen, 1846
LC Unknown[10] Cetacea range map False Killer Whale.PNG False killer whale size.svg
1.5-2 tonnes
False killer whale 890002.jpg
Genus Orcinus – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Killer whale Orcinus orca
Linnaeus, 1758
CD 100,000[11] Cetacea range map Orca.PNG Orca size-2.svg
4.5 tonnes
Killerwhales jumping.jpg
Genus Globicephala – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas
Traill, 1809
LC Unknown[12] Cetacea range map Long-finned Pilot Whale.PNG Long-finned pilot whale size.svg
3-3.5 tonnes
Pilotwal2.JPG
Short-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus
Gray, 1846
CD Unknown[13] Cetacea range map Short-finned Pilot Whale.png Short-finned pilot whale size.svg
1–3 tonnes
Short-finned Pilot Whale 1.jpg
Genus Orcaella Gray, 1866 – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Australian snubfin dolphin Orcaella heinsohni
Beasley, Robertson & Arnold, 2005
Unknown Unknown Orcaella heinsohni range.png Orcaella heinsohni size.svg
130–145 kg
Irrawaddy dolphin Orcaella brevirostris
Gray, 1866
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Irrawaddy Dolphin.PNG Irrawaddy dolphin size.svg
130 kg
Orcaella brevirostris 1878.jpg

Family Monodontidae: narwhal and beluga[edit]

The cetacean family Monodontidae comprises two unusual whale species, the narwhal, in which the male has a long tusk, and the white beluga.

The Monodontidae lack dorsal fins, which have been replaced by tough, fibrous ridges just behind the midpoints of their bodies and are probably an adaptation to swimming under ice, as both do in their Arctic habitat. The flippers are small, rounded and tend to curl up at the ends in adulthood. All, or almost all, the cervical vertebrae are unfused, allowing their heads to be turned independently of their bodies. None has any throat grooves.[1]

Genus Monodon – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Narwhal(e) Monodon monoceros
Linnaeus, 1758
DD 25,000[14] Cetacea range map Narwhal.png Narwhal size.svg
900-1,500 kilograms
Narwhals breach.jpg
Genus Delphinapterus – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Beluga Delphinapterus leucas
Pallas, 1776
Vulnerable (VU) 100,000[15] Cetacea range map Beluga.png Beluga size.svg
1.5 tonnes
Belugawhale MMC.jpg

Family Phocoenidae: porpoises[edit]

Porpoises are small cetaceans of the family Phocoenidae. They are distinct from dolphins, although the word "porpoise" has been used to refer to any small dolphin, especially by sailors and fishermen. The most obvious visible difference between the two groups is porpoises have spatulate (flattened) teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins. In addition, porpoises are relatively r-selected compared with dolphins: that is, they rear more young more quickly than dolphins. All six species have small flippers, notched tail flukes, and no beaks. All carry at least 11 pairs of small teeth in their upper and lower jaws.

Porpoises, divided into six species, live in all oceans, mostly near the shore. Probably best known is the harbour porpoise, which can be found across the Northern Hemisphere.

Genus Neophocaena – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides
Cuvier, 1829
DD[16] Unknown[17] Cetacea range map Finless Porpoise.PNG Finless porpoise size.svg
30–45 kg
FinlessPorpoise2.jpg
Genus Phocoena – four species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena
Linnaeus, 1758
VU Unknown[18] Cetacea range map Harbour Porpoise.PNG Harbour porpoise size.svg
75 kg
Porpoise touching.jpg
Vaquita Phocoena sinus
Norris & McFarland, 1958
Critically Endangered (CE) 500[19] Cetacea range map Vaquita.PNG Vaquita size.svg
50 kg
Vaquita2 Olson NOAA crop2.jpg
Spectacled porpoise Phocoena dioptrica
Lahille, 1912
DD Unknown[20] Cetacea range map Spectacled Porpoise.PNG Spectacled porpoise size.svg
60–84 kg
SpectacledPorpoise.jpg
Burmeister's porpoise Phocoena spinipinnis
Burmeister, 1865
DD Unknown[21] Cetacea range map Burmeister's Porpoise.PNG Burmeister's porpoise size.svg
50–75 kg
Genus Phocoenoides – 1 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Dall's porpoise Phocoenoides dalli
True, 1885
CD 1,100,000[22] Cetacea range map Dall's Porpoise.PNG Dall's porpoise size.svg
130–200 kg
Dalls Porpoise Underwater.JPG

Family Physeteridae: sperm whale[edit]

The sperm whale characteristically has a large, squarish head one-third the length of its body; the blowhole is slightly to the left hand side; the skin is usually wrinkled; and it has no teeth on the upper jaw.

Genus Physeter – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus
Linnaeus, 1758
VU 200,000–2,000,000[23] Cetacea range map Sperm Whale 4.PNG Sperm whale size.svg
25–50 tonnes
Mother and baby sperm whale.jpg

Family Kogiidae: dwarf and pygmy sperm whales[edit]

The dwarf and pygmy sperm whales resemble sperm whales, but are far smaller. They are dark grey, dorsally, while ventrally they are lighter. They have blunt, squarish heads with narrow, underslung jaws; the flippers are set far forward, close to the head and their dorsal fins are set far back down the body.

Genus Kogia – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima
Owen, 1866
LC Unknown[24] Cetacea range map Dwarf Sperm Whale.png Dwarf sperm whale size.svg
250 kg
Kogia sima.jpg
Pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps
Blainville, 1838
LC Unknown[24] Kogia breviceps range.png Pygmy sperm whale size.svg
400 kg
Kogia breviceps.jpg

Family Ziphiidae: beaked whales[edit]

A beaked whale is any of at least 21 species of small whale in the family Ziphiidae. They are one of the least-known families of large mammals: several species have only been described in the last two decades, and it is entirely possible that more remain as yet undiscovered. Six genera have been identified.

They possess a unique feeding mechanism known as suction feeding. Instead of catching their prey with teeth, it is sucked into their oral cavity. Their tongue can move very freely, and when suddenly retracted at the same time as the gular floor is distended, the pressure immediately drops within their mouth and the prey is sucked in with the water. The family members are characterized by having a lower jaw that extends at least to the tip of the upper jaw, a shallow or non-existent notch between the tail flukes, a dorsal fin set well back on the body, three of four fused cervical vertebrae, extensive skull asymmetry and two conspicuous throat grooves forming a 'V' pattern.[1]

Genus Ziphius – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Cuvier's beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris
G. Cuvier, 1823
DD Unknown[25] Cetacea range map Cuvier's Beaked Whale.PNG Cuvier's beaked whale size.svg
2–3 tonnes
Cuviers beaked whale-swfsc.jpg
Genus Berardius – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Arnoux's beaked whale Berardius arnuxii
Duvernoy, 1851
CD Unknown[26] Cetacea range map Arnoux 27s Beaked Whale.png Arnoux's beaked whale size.svg
8 tonnes
Berardius arnuxii.jpg
Baird's beaked whale Berardius bairdii
Stejneger, 1883
CD Unknown[27] Cetacea range map Baird 27s Beaked Whale.png Baird's beaked whale size.svg
12 tonnes
Genus Tasmacetus – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Shepherd's beaked whale Tasmacetus shepherdi
Oliver, 1937
DD Unknown[28] Cetacea range map Shepherd 27s Beaked Whale.png Shepherd's beaked whale size.svg
2-2.5 tonnes
Subfamily Hyperoodontidae – three genera, 17 species
Genus Indopacetus – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Tropical bottlenose whale Indopacetus pacificus
Longman, 1926
DD Unknown[29] Cetacea range map Longman 27s Beaked Whale.png Indopacetus pacificus size.svg
3,5-4 tonnes
Genus Hyperoodon – two species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Northern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon ampullatus
Forster, 1770
CD 10,000[30] Cetacea range map Northern Bottlenose Whale.PNG Northern bottlenose whale size.svg
7 tonnes
Faroe stamp 200 Hyperoodon ampullatus.jpg
Southern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon planifrons
Flower, 1882
CD 500,000 Cetacea range map Southern Bottlenose Whale.PNG Southern bottlenose whale size.svg
6 tonnes
Genus Mesoplodon Gervais, 1850 – 14 species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Andrews' beaked whale Mesoplodon bowdoini
Andrews, 1908
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Andrews Beaked Whale.png Andrew's beaked whale size.svg
1 tonne
Spade-toothed whale Mesoplodon traversii, syn. Mesoplodon bahamondi
Gray, 1874
DD Unknown Mesoplodon traversii distribution.png Mesoplodon bahamondi size.svg
1.2 tonnes
Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris
Blainville, 1817
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Blainvilles Beaked Whale.png Blainville's beaked whale size.svg Behavioral response study andros island bahamas 2007.JPG
Gervais' beaked whale Mesoplodon europaeus
Gervais, 1855
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Gervais Beaked Whale.png Gervais' beaked whale size.svg
1.2 tonnes
Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale Mesoplodon ginkgodens
Nishiwaki & Kamiya, 1958
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale.png Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale size.svg
1.5 tonnes
Gray's beaked whale Mesoplodon grayi
von Haast, 1876
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Grays Beaked Whale.png Gray's beaked whale size.svg
1.5 tonnes
Hector's beaked whale Mesoplodon hectori
Gray, 1871
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Hectors Beaked Whale.png Hector's beaked whale size.svg
1 tonne
Hubbs' beaked whale Mesoplodon carlhubbsi
Moore, 1963
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Hubbs Beaked Whale.png Hubb's beaked whale size.svg
1.4 tonnes
Perrin's beaked whale Mesoplodon perrini
Dalebout, Mead, Baker, Baker, & van Helding, 2002
DD Unknown Mesoplodon perrini size.svg
1.3–1.5 tonnes
Pygmy beaked whale Mesoplodon peruvianus
Reyes, Mead, and Van Waerebeek, 1991
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Pygmy Beaked Whale.png Mesoplodon peruvianus size.svg
800 kg
Sowerby's beaked whale Mesoplodon bidens
Sowerby, 1804
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Sowerbys Beaked Whale.png Sowerby's beaked whale size.svg
1-1.3 tonnes
Faroe stamp 197 Mesoplodon bidens.jpg
Stejneger's beaked whale Mesoplodon stejnegeri
True, 1885
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Stejneger sBeaked Whale.png Stejneger's beaked whale size.svg
1.5 tonnes
Strap-toothed whale Mesoplodon layardii
Gray, 1865
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Layards Beaked Whale.png Straptoothed whale size.svg
2 tonnes
True's beaked whale Mesoplodon mirus
True, 1913
DD Unknown Cetacea range map Trues Beaked Whale.png True's beaked whale size.svg
1.4 tonnes
Mesoplodon mirus.jpg

Superfamily Platanistoidea: river dolphins[edit]

River dolphins are five species of dolphins which reside in freshwater rivers and estuaries. They are classed in the Platanistoidea superfamily of cetaceans. Four species live in fresh water rivers. The fifth species, the La Plata dolphin, lives in saltwater estuaries and the ocean. However, it is scientifically classed in the river dolphin family rather than the oceanic dolphin family. All species have adaptations to facilitate fish catching: a long, forceps-like beak with numerous small teeth in both jaws, broad flippers to allow tight turns, small eyes, and unfused neck vertebrae to allow the head to move in relation to the body.

Family Iniidae: river dolphins[edit]

This family contains one genus of two species, although the Amazon river dolphin (I. geoffrensis) has been divided into three subspecies:

  • I. geoffrensis geoffrensis – Amazon basin population (excluding Madeira river drainage area, above the Teotonio Rapids in Bolivia)
  • I. geoffrensis humboldtiana – Orinoco basin population
  • Bolivian river dolphinI. g. boliviensis – Amazon basin population in the Madeira drainage area


Genus Inia – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Amazon river dolphin Inia geoffrensis
Blainville, 1817
VU Unknown Cetacea range map Amazon River Dolphin.PNG Amazon river dolphin size.svg
150 kg
Inia geoffrensis.jpg
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Araguaian river dolphin Inia araguaiaensis
Hrbek, Da Silva, Dutra, Farias, 2014
Unknown Unknown Inia range map PLoS ONE.jpg
Araguaian river dolphin in blue
Amazon river dolphin size.svg
150 kg
Inia araguaiaensis cranium & mandible PLoS ONE.jpg

Family Lipotidae: baiji[edit]

The Lipotidae family is another monotypic taxon, containing only the baiji. Fossil records suggest the dolphin first appeared 25 million years ago and migrated from the Pacific Ocean to the Yangtze River 20 million years ago.[31] The species was declared functionally extinct in 2006 after an expedition to record population numbers.

Genus Lipotes – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
Baiji Lipotes vexillifer
Miller, 1918
CE, possibly extinct 13[32] Cetacea range map Chinese River Dolphin.PNG Baiji size.svg
130 kg
Lipotes vexillifer.png

Family Platanistidae: South Asian river dolphin[edit]

The Platanistidae were originally thought to hold only one species (the South Asian river dolphin), but based on differences in skull structure, vertebrae and lipid composition, scientists declared the two populations as separate species in the early 1970s.[33] In 1998, the results of these studies were questioned and the classification reverted to the pre-1970 consensus. Thus, at present, two subspecies are recognized in the genus Platanista, P. gangetica minor (the Indus dolphin) and P. g. gangetica (the Ganges river dolphin).[34]

Genus Platanista – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
South Asian river dolphin Platanista gangetica
Roxburgh, 1801
EN 1,100[35] Cetacea range map South Asian river dolphin.png South Asian river dolphin size comparison.svg
200 kg
Schnabeldelphin-drawing.jpg

Family Pontoporiidae: La Plata river dolphin[edit]

The La Plata river dolphin is the only species of the Pontoporiidae family and of the Pontoporia genus.

Genus Pontoporia – one species
Common name Scientific name Status Population Distribution Size Picture
La Plata dolphin Pontoporia blainvillei
Gervais & d'Orbigny, 1844
DD 4,000–4,500 Cetacea range map La Plata River Dolphin.PNG La plata dolphin size.svg
50 kg
Pontoporia blainvillei.jpg

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Martin, Dr. Anthony R. (1991). Whales and Dolphins. London: Salamander Books. ISBN 0-8160-3922-4. 
  2. ^ The total population is unknown but numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
  3. ^ Total population unknown but thought to be locally common – it is the most common dolphin found around the Falkland Islands
  4. ^ Estimates of various stocks throughout the North Atlantic give an overall value into the high tens or low hundreds of thousands.
  5. ^ Varying population estimates for areas around California and the North Pacific give a total of up to 400,000
  6. ^ Surveys suggest this is the most common dolphin off of Chilean waters.
  7. ^ The population around the continental shelf of the United States has been recorded to be in excess of 60,000. In the Pacific, a census recorded 175,000 individuals in eastern tropical waters and 85,000 in the west. No global estimate of population exists.
  8. ^ Estimates for eastern tropical Pacific are 45,000 and another recent survey estimates population to be 1,200 for the eastern Sulu Sea, no global estimate is known.
  9. ^ The only population estimate is of 38,900 individuals in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean
  10. ^ The total population is unknown. The eastern Pacific was estimated to have in excess of 40,000 individuals and is probably the home of the largest grouping.
  11. ^ Local estimates include 70–80,000 in the Antarctic, 8,000 in the tropical Pacific (although tropical waters are not the orca's preferred environment, the sheer size of this area — 19 million square kilometres — means there are thousands of orcas), up to 2,000 off Japan, 1,500 off the cooler northeast Pacific and 1,500 off Norway.
  12. ^ Total population is not known. There are estimated to be in excess of 200,000 in the Southern Ocean. The North Atlantic population is not known.
  13. ^ Total population not known. There are 150,000 individuals in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. There are estimated to be more than 30,000 animals in the western Pacific, off the coast of Japan.
  14. ^ Aerial surveys suggest a population of around 20,000 individuals. When submerged animals are also taken into account, the true figure may be in excess of 25,000.
  15. ^ There are estimated to be 40,000 individuals in the Beaufort Sea, 25,000 in Hudson Bay, 18,000 in the Bering Sea and 28,000 in the Canadian High Arctic. The population in the St. Lawrence estuary is estimated to be around 1000.
  16. ^ There are not enough data to place finless porpoises on the endangered species list, except in China, where they are endangered. Their propensity for staying close to shore places them in great danger from fishing.
  17. ^ There are no good estimates of the animals' abundance. However a comparison of two surveys, one from the late 1970s and the other from 1999/2000 shows a decline in population and distribution.
  18. ^ Several surveys have been taken, although large gaps of data are missing, so an overall value cannot be achieved. In the eastern Pacific Ocean: Central California 4,120; Northern California 9,250; Oregon and Washington 26,175. In the Atlantic Ocean: Gulf of Maine 67,500; Skagerrak and Belt Seas 36,046; North Sea 279,367; Ireland and western UK 36,280.
  19. ^ Only few serious attempts have been made to estimate the total size of the vaquita population. Varying numbers have been obtained although an average of about 500 is usually found.
  20. ^ Nothing is known of the abundance of this porpoise. It was the most commonly encountered species during preliminary beach surveys undertaken on Tierra del Fuego.
  21. ^ There are no quantitative data on abundance.
  22. ^ The most recent estimate for the North Pacific and Bering Sea is 1,186,000.
  23. ^ The total number of sperm whales throughout the world is unknown. Crude estimates, obtained by surveying small areas and extrapolating the result to all the world's oceans, range from 200,000 to 2,000,000 individuals.
  24. ^ a b No global population estimates have been made. One survey estimated a population of about 11,000 in the eastern Pacific.
  25. ^ Because of the difficulty of identifying the species the total global population is unknown.
  26. ^ Arnoux's beaked whales seem to be relatively abundant in Cook Strait during summer
  27. ^ Virtually nothing is known about the abundance of Baird's beaked whales, except they are not rare as was formerly thought.
  28. ^ Nothing is known about the relative abundance of this species or its population composition.
  29. ^ A 2002 survey estimates there are 766 animals around Hawaii. No other population estimates exist for other locales.
  30. ^ Total population is unknown but likely to be of the order of 10,000.
  31. ^ Wang, Yongchen (2007-01-10). "Farewell to the Baiji". China Dialogue. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  32. ^ A survey from November–December 2006 failed to find any individuals. Another survey, from 1997, counted only 13 individuals. In 1986, surveys estimated the number to be at about 300.
  33. ^ Pilleri, G., Marcuzzi, G. and Pilleri, O., 1982. Speciation in the Platanistoidea, systematic, zoogeographical and ecological observations on recent species. Investigations on Cetacea, 14: 15–46.
  34. ^ Rice, DW (1998). Marine mammals of the world: Systematics and distribution. Society for Marine Mammalogy. ISBN 978-1-891276-03-3. 
  35. ^ Estimates give values of 1,100 Indus river dolphins and maybe as few as 20 Ganges river dolphins.
General references

External links[edit]