Wikipedia:WikiProject Cetaceans

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This WikiProject is about cetaceans - that's whales, dolphins and porpoises to you and me. The aim of the project is to write a good description of every known cetacean species out there - all 90 of them[1], one of which is possibly extinct.

Things to be done[edit]

  • Assessment
  • Collaboration — Collaborations were selected monthly from September 2006 until January 2007, with irregular activity thereafter until the last selection in April 2008, since which time it has been inactive.
  • Change capitalisation of common names to sentence case. See Capitalisation of common names below. (Discuss)


Consider placing your name here and/or {{User WPCETA}} on your userpage if you are interested in being a member of this project.


Featured and Good Content[edit]

Featured Articles (6)[edit]

Former Featured Articles (2)[edit]

Good Articles (11)[edit]

Featured Lists (1)[edit]

Article alerts[edit]

No Article alerts at this time.

State of articles[edit]

Featured article FA  A-Class article A   GA  B-Class article B  C-Class article C  Start-Class article Start  Stub-Class article Stub  Featured list FL   List   NA   ???  Total
7 0 13 24 69 192 177 1 9 143 1 636

Scope of articles[edit]

Articles on almost every species have been started. Most species have their own article with the exception of mesoplodont whales (too little information known for separate articles) and humpback dolphins (the lack of consensus from the taxonomists makes difficult to know what species to choose). Better to do at the genus level to avoid passing judgment.

Manual of style[edit]

Bowhead whale
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Balaenidae
Genus: Balaena
Species: B. mysticetus
Binomial name
Balaena mysticetus
Linnaeus, 1758
Cetacea range map Bowhead Whale.png
Bowhead whale range

Capitalisation of common names[edit]

Common names of cetaceans are written in sentence case. That is, the names are not capitalised except for the first word of a sentence and any proper names that are part of the common name. An example of the general use is bowhead whale. Examples of the inclusion of a proper name are North Pacific right whale (where "North Pacific" is a placename) and Bryde's whale (where Bryde was a person's name).

Prior to 15 February 2010 the common names were often written in title case, with every word capitalised. Most article titles have now been changed to sentence case per Talk:Bowhead whale#Requested move, but the text of some articles may still need to be changed. Discussion leading to the February 2010 policy change is archived at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cetaceans/Archive 4#Capitalisation.


Each species article should use a {{Taxobox}} (usage instructions) to list standard information about that species.


A good image of an individual of the species in question should go in the {{Taxobox}}, but other descriptive images in-lined at relevant parts of the article are great. A size-comparison diagram should accompany it (as the image2 argument).

The JPEG format is preferable for photographs and PNG or SVG for diagrams. For public domain resources try the American National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration, particularly the National Marine Fisheries Historic Image Collection.

Range maps[edit]

The basic template map is the world map without country borders. Others can be found at Wikipedia:Blank maps.

The blue colour shows where the species may be found and white is where it is absent.

  • The grey colour has R:205 G:195 B:204 (#cdc3cc).
  • The blue colour has R:0 G:0 B:255 (#0000ff)

Some maps give the range of multiple species and separate the two with different colours. There is no standard for this yet.

When editing a map, save it at full-quality so that no blurring occurs at the edge of the countries. Blurring makes further editing of the map more difficult because the "fill" function of many image editing programs doesn't work with the blurred edges.

What to include[edit]

Cetacean species articles can contain:

  • a short introduction on the species, such as whether it is baleen or toothed
  • physical characteristics such as their birth and adult sizes and weights for both sexes, colour, callosities, fin placement, size and shape, and how one may distinguish between that and other species
  • biological elements such as life expectancy, gestation period, lactation period, speed, what they eat and interaction with other species
  • population and distribution, changes thereof over time and conservation status
  • human relationship with the species such as whaling, display in aquariums and whale-watching
  • the discoverer/describer of the species, scientific names, taxonomy debates and English meaning of the scientific name

This list is neither exhaustive nor its items appropriate for every article. Some information is probably best described in an article outside a particular species e.g. baleen.


There are a huge number of books on the subject. The websites listed at cetacea may be useful for quick fact-verifying

Free pictures[edit]

The NOAA has some great cetacean photos on the web. It is a U.S. Federal Government department, so its photos are public domain. They're on many websites and can be tricky to find through searches. Here are some examples:


Markup Belongs... Displays as
{{Cetacea}} Bottom of article
{{Portal|Cetaceans}} "See also" section on cetacean-related articles.
{{WikiProject Cetaceans}} Top of article talk page
WikiProject Cetaceans (Rated NA-class)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Cetaceans, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of cetaceans on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 NA  This page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
{{User WPCETA}} User page
Sperm whale fluke.jpg This user is a member of WikiProject Cetaceans.
{{subst:WPCETA Welcome}} Talk page of interested Wikipedians

Hello WikiProject Cetaceans. Thank you for your contribution to articles under the Cetaceans WikiProject! This project exists to enable interested users to collaborate on articles related to cetaceans. Should you be interested, there are many tasks where you can do to contribute:


Here are some Cetaceans WikiProject tasks you can do.

We hope one of these will tempt you into considering joining this WikiProject. If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our project contributors, or inquire on the project's talk page. Again, Thanks!

{{Paleo-whale-stub}} Bottom of prehistoric stub article
{{Whale-stub}} Bottom of non-prehistoric stub article


Main tool page:
  • Reflinks - Edits bare references - adds title/dates etc. to bare references
  • Checklinks - Edit and repair external links
  • Dab solver - Quickly resolve ambiguous links.
  • Peer reviewer - Provides hints and suggestion to improving articles.


Hello it's me
  1. ^ "The Society for Marine Mammalogy's Taxonomy Committee List of Species and subspecies". Society for Marine Mammalogy. October 2014. Retrieved 8 Jan 2014. 
  2. ^ Cetacean Specialist Group (1996). "Balaena mysticetus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 06 May 2006.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help) Database entry includes a lengthy justification of why this species is dependent on conservation