Cetacea

The cetaceans are warm-blooded marine mammals, including the whales, dolphins, and porpoises, characterized by having a fusiform body, paddle-shaped front limbs, vestigial hind limbs and blowhole for air-breathing.

Discover our videos on the taxonomy of cetaceans to get an idea of the great diversity of the toothed whales (systematic name Odontoceti) and to see each species and their conservation status.

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Oceanic Dolphins

Family Delphinidae (39 species)

1. Cephalorhynchus commersonii
Common name: Commerson’s dolphin, piebald dolphin, tonina dolphin, black-and-white dolphin, panda dolphin, skunk dolphin.
Status: Data deficient DD
C. c. commersonii Commerson’s dolphin
C. c. kerguelenensis Kerguelen Islands Commerson’s dolphin
Length 120 – 170 cm Weight 35 – 86 kg

2. Cephalorhynchus eutropia
Common name: Chilean dolphin, white-bellied dolphin, black dolphin, Chilean black dolphin. Status: Near Threatened NT
Length 120 – 170 cm Weight 30 – 70 kg

3. Cephalorhynchus heavisidii
Common name: Heaviside’s Dolphin, South African Dolphin, Benguela Dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 160 – 174 cm Weight 50 – 75 kg

4. Cephalorhynchus hectori
Common name: Hector’s Dolphin, white-headed dolphin, New Zealand white-front dolphin, New Zealand dolphin.
Status: Endangered species EN
C. h. hectori South Island Hector’s dolphin
C. h. maui Maui’s dolphin, North Island Hector’s dolphin. Status: Critically Endangered CR
Length 120 – 160 cm Weight 40 – 60 kg

5. Delphinus capensis
Common name: long-beaked common dolphin, common dolphin, Baja-neritic common dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
D. c. capensis long-beaked common dolphin, saddle-back dolphin
D. c. tropicalis Indian long-nosed dolphin, Arabian saddleback dolphins
Length 190 – 250 cm Weight 100 – 235 kg

6. Delphinus delphis
Common name: short-beaked common dolphin, short-beaked saddleback dolphin, saddle-backed dolphin, Atlantic dolphin, Pacific dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
D. d. delphis short-beaked common dolphin
D. d. ponticus short-beaked common dolphin, common dolphin, Black Sea common dolphin. Status: Vulnerable VU
Mediterranean subpopulation. Status: Endangered species EN
Length 150 – 200 cm Weight 70 – 200 kg

7. Feresa attenuata
Common name: pygmy killer whale, slender blackfish, feresa, slender pilot whale, blackfish. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 210 – 260 cm Weight 110 – 225 kg

8. Globicephala macrorhynchus
Common name: short-finned pilot whale, North Pacific pilot whale, southern blackfish, Indian pilot whale, pothead whale, blackfish.
Status: Data deficient DD
Length 3.6 – 7.3 m Weight 1000 – 3600 kg

9. Globicephala melas
Common name: long-finned pilot whale, common blackfish, black whale. Status: Data deficient DD
G. m. edwardii southern long-finned pilot whale
G. m. melas North Atlantic long-finned pilot whale
Length 3 – 8 m Weight 1000 – 3600 kg

10. Grampus griseus
Common name: Risso’s dolphin, gray grampus, Risso’s grampus, grey dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Mediterranean subpopulation. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 2.6 – 4 m Weight 300 – 600 kg

11. Lagenodelphis hosei
Common name: Fraser’s dolphin, Sarawak Dolphin, Bornean dolphin, Hose’s dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 200 – 270 cm Weight 120 – 210 kg

12. Lagenorhynchus acutus
Common name: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, jumper, Eschricht’s dolphin, skunk porpoise. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 200 – 280 cm Weight 130 – 230 kg

13. Lagenorhynchus albirostris
Common name: white-beaked dolphin, white-beaked bottlenose, white-nosed dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 230 – 320 cm Weight 180 – 350 kg

14. Lagenorhynchus australis
Common name: Peale’s dolphin, blackchin dolphin, southern white-sided dolphin, black-chinned dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 150 – 220 cm Weight 100 – 115 kg

15. Lagenorhynchus cruciger
Common name: hourglass dolphin, sea skunk, “sea cow”, springer. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 140 – 190 cm Weight 90 – 120 kg

16. Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
Common name: Pacific white-sided dolphin, bottle nose grampus, hookfin porpoise, Pacific striped dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 170 – 250 cm Weight 75 – 200 kg

17. Lagenorhynchus obscurus
Common name: dusky dolphin, Fitzroy’s dolphin, beakless dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
L. o. fitzroyi South America Fitzroy’s dolphin, South American dusky dolphin
L. o. obscurus African dusky dolphin, South African dusky dolphin
L. o. un-named subsp. New Zealand dusky dolphin
Length 160 – 210 cm Weight 40 – 85 kg

18. Lissodelphis borealis
Common name: northern right-whale dolphin, white bellied right whale dolphin, snake porpoise, right-whale porpoise, Pacific rightwhale porpoise. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 230 – 310 cm Weight 60 – 115 kg

19. Lissodelphis peronii
Common name: southern right-whale dolphin, Peron’s dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 200 – 300 cm Weight 60 – 115 kg

20. Orcaella brevirostris
Common name: Irrawaddy dolphin, orcelle, pesut, Irawadi dolphin, snubfin dolphin, Irawaddy river dolphin, larger Indian porpoise. Status: Vulnerable VU
Orcaella brevirostris Subpopulations: Mekong River, Ayeyarwady River, Mahakam River, Songkhla Lake, Malampaya Sound.
Status: Critically Endangered CR
Length 150 – 275cm Weight 90 – 200 kg

21. Orcaella heinsohni
Common name: Australian snubfin dolphin. Status: Near Threatened NT
Length 150 – 270cm Weight 115 – 130 kg

22. Orcinus orca
Common name: killer whale, orca, blackfish, grampus, swordfish, sword grampus, killer-trasher. Status: Data deficient DD
Ecotypes: Resident; Transient (Bigg’s killer whale); Offshore; North Atlantic Type 1; North Atlantic Type 2; Antarctic type A; Small Type B; Large Type B; Type C; Type D.
Southern Resident killer whales population (J, K, L pods) Status: Endangered species EN
Strait of Gibraltar subpopulation Status: Critically Endangered CR
Length 7 – 10 m Weight 4000 – 10000 Kg

23. Peponocephala electra
Common name: melon-headed whale, many-toothed blackfish, “melon whale”, electra dolphin, Hawaiian blackfish, Indian broad-beaked dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 250 – 300 cm Weight 200 – 275 kg

24. Pseudorca crassidens
Common name: false killer whale, blackfish, bubble. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 4 – 6 m Weight 1000 – 2200 kg

25. Sousa chinensis
Common name: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Chinese white dolphin, Pacific humpback dolphin, pink dolphin, Bornean dolphin, lead-colored dolphin. Status: Near Threatened NT
S. c. chinensis Chinese humpback dolphin
S. c. taiwanensis Taiwanese humpback dolphin. Eastern Taiwan Strait subpopulation. Status: Critically Endangered CR
Length 180 – 320 cm Weight 150 – 280 kg

26. Sousa plumbea
Common name: Indian humpback dolphin, Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, Plumbeous humpback dolphin, speckled dolphin, freckled dolphin. Status: Vulnerable VU
Length 200 – 280 cm Weight 150 – 200 kg

27. Sousa sahulensis
Common name: Australian humpback dolphin, Sahul dolphin. Status: Vulnerable VU
Length 220 – 270 cm Weight 170 – 260 kg

28. Sousa teuszii
Common name: Atlantic humpback dolphin, Teusz’s dolphin, Cameroon dolphin, West Africa’s Atlantic humpback dolphin.
Status: Vulnerable VU
Length 180 – 280 cm Weight 130 – 280 kg

29. Sotalia fluviatilis
Common name: tucuxi dolphin, Brazilian dolphin, tucuxi, gray dolphin, Guianian river dolphin, estuarine dolphin, gray river dolphin, bouto dolphin, sotalia. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 120 – 200 cm Weight 35 – 55 kg

30. Sotalia guianensis
Common name: Guiana dolphin, costero, Guyana river dolphin, freshwater tucuxi, sotalia. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 120 – 220 cm Weight 60 – 80 kg

31. Stenella attenuata
Common name: pantropical spotted dolphin, bridled dolphin, narrow-snouted dolphin, coastal spotted dolphin, Hawaiian spotted porpoise, kiko, spotter, slender-beaked dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
S. a. attenuata offshore pantropical spotted dolphin
S. a. graffmani coastal pantropical spotted dolphin, eastern Pacific coastal spotted porpoise, Graffman’s dolphin.
Length 160 – 260 cm Weight up to 120 kg

32. Stenella clymene
Common name: clymene dolphin, helmet dolphin, Atlantic spinner dolphin, short-snouted spinner dolphin, Senegal dolphin.
Status: Data deficient DD
Length 170 – 200 cm Weight 45 – 85 kg

33. Stenella coeruleoalba
Common name: striped dolphin, Euphrosyne dolphin, blue-white dolphin, Gray’s dolphin, streaker porpoise, whitebelly, Meyen’s dolphin. Status: Least Concern LC
Mediterranean subpopulation. Status: Vulnerable VU
Length 180 – 250 cm Weight 110 – 160 kg

34. Stenella frontalis
Common name: Atlantic spotted dolphin, bridled dolphin, cape dolphin, gamin, Gulf Stream spotted dolphin, narrow-snouted dolphin.
Status: Data deficient DD
Length 170 – 230 cm Weight 90 – 140 kg

35. Stenella longirostris
Common name: spinner dolphin, long-beaked dolphin, long-snouted dolphin, eastern spinner, small-headed dolphin, rollover, whitebelly spinner, long-nosed dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
S. l. orientalis eastern spinner dolphin. Status: Vulnerable VU
S. l. centroamericana Central American spinner dolphin, Costa Rican spinner dolphin
S. l. longirostris Gray’s spinner dolphin, whitebelly spinner, Hawaiian spinner dolphin
S. l. roseiventris dwarf spinner dolphin
Length 130 – 230 cm Weight 30 – 80 kg

36. Steno bredanensis
Common name: rough-toothed dolphin, black porpoise, steno. Status: Least Concern LC
Length 200 – 280 cm Weight 90 – 160 kg

37. Tursiops aduncus
Common name: Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin, Red Sea bottlenose dolphin, southern bottlenose dolphin. Status: Data deficient DD
Length 175 – 270 cm Weight 150 – 230 kg

38. Tursiops australis
Common name: burrunan dolphin, burrunan bottle-nosed dolphin. Status: Endangered species EN
Length 220 – 280 cm

 

39. Tursiops truncatus
Common name: common bottlenose dolphin, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, bottle-nosed dolphin, bottlenose porpoise.
Status: Least Concern LC
T. t. ponticus Black Sea bottlenose dolphin. Status: Endangered species EN
Fiordland subpopulation (Fiordland bottlenose dolphin, New Zealand bottlenose dolphin). Status: Critically Endangered CR
Mediterranean subpopulation. Status: Vulnerable VU
Length 190 – 400 cm Weight 150 – 600 kg

 

 

River dolphins

Family Platanistidae Status: Endangered species EN
Platanista gangetica gangetica Common name: South Asian river dolphin, Ganges river dolphin, blind river dolphin, susu.
Platanista gangetica minor Common name: Indus river dolphin, bhulan.

Family Iniidae Status: Vulnerable VU
Inia geoffrensis Common name: Amazon river dolphin, boto, boutu, inia, pink river dolphin.
Three subspecies
Inia geoffrensis geoffrensis in the Amazon
Inia geoffrensis boliviensis in Bolivia
Inia geoffrensis humboldtiana in the Orinoco

Family Lipotidae Status: Critically Endangered CR
Lipotes vexillifer Common name: Yangtze river dolphin, baiji, white-fin dolphin, Chinese river dolphin, white flag dolphin, Changjiang dolphin, Pei C’hi, “goddess of the Yangtze”.

Family Pontoporiidae Status: Vulnerable VU
Pontoporia blainvillei Common name: La Plata dolphin, franciscana, silver dolphin, toninha.

 

Porpoises – Family Phocoenidae

Neophocaena asiaeorientalis Common name: narrow-ridged finless porpoise, Yangtze finless porpoise, finless porpoise. Status: Critically Endangered CR

Neophocaena phocaenoides Common name: finless porpoise, Indo-Pacific finless porpoise, black porpoises, black finless porpoises, Jiangzhu, Shushuk, Limbur. Status: Vulnerable VU

Phocoena dioptrica Common name: spectacled porpoise, marsopa de anteojos, bicolour porpoises. Status: Data deficient DD

Phocoena phocoena Common name: harbour porpoise, harbor porpoise, common porpoise, puffing pig. Status: Least Concern LC
Phocoena phocoena ssp. relicta Common name: Black Sea harbour porpoise. Status: Endangered species EN
Phocoena phocoena (Baltic Sea subpopulation) Status: Critically Endangered CR

Phocoena sinus Common name: vaquita, Gulf of California porpoise, cochito, Gulf of California harbour (harbor) porpoise, gulf porpoise. Status: Critically Endangered CR

Phocoena spinipinnis Common name: Burmeister’s porpoise, black porpoise, marsopa espinosa, chancho marino. Status: Data deficient DD

Phocoenoides dalli Common name: Dall’s porpoise, white-flanked porpoise, spray porpoise, true’s porpoise. Status: Least Concern LC

 

Beaked Whales – Family Ziphiidae

Berardius arnuxii Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Arnoux´s beaked whale, southern four-toothed whale, southern beaked whale, New Zealand beaked whale, southern giant bottlenose whale, southern porpoise whale.

Berardius bairdii Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Baird’s beaked whale, Pacific giant bottlenose whale, giant bottle-nosed whale, northern four-toothed whale, North Pacific bottlenose whale, four-toothed whale.

Hyperoodon ampullatus Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: northern bottlenose whale, North Atlantic bottlenose whale, northern bottlenose whale, bottlehead.

Hyperoodon planifrons Status: Least Concern LC
Common name: southern bottlenose whale, Antarctic bottlenose whale, flathead.

Indopacetus pacificus Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Longman’s beaked whale, tropical bottlenose whale, Indo-Pacific whale.

Mesoplodon bidens Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Sowerby’s beaked whale, North Atlantic beaked whale, North Sea beaked whale.

Mesoplodon bowdoini Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Andrews’ beaked whale, splay-toothed beaked whale, Bowdoin’s beaked whale, deep-crest beaked whale.

Mesoplodon carlhubbsi Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Hubbs’ beaked whale, Hubbs’s beaked whale, Arch-beaked whale.

Mesoplodon densirostris Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Blainville’s beaked whale, Atlantic beaked whale, dense beaked whale.

Mesoplodon europaeus Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Gervais’ beaked whale, Antillean beaked whale, Gulf Stream beaked whale, European beaked whale.

Mesoplodon ginkgodens Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, ginkgo beaked whale, Japanese beaked whale.

Mesoplodon grayi Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Gray’s beaked whale, Haast’s beaked whale, scamperdown whale, small-toothed beaked whale, southern beaked whale.

Mesoplodon hectori Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Hector’s beaked whale, New Zealand Beaked Whale, Skew-beaked Whale.

Mesoplodon hotaula Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Deraniyagala’s beaked whale.

Mesoplodon layardii Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: strap-toothed whale, Layard’s beaked whale.

Mesoplodon mirus Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: True’s beaked whale, wonderful beaked whales.

Mesoplodon peruvianus Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Peruvian beaked whale, lesser beaked whale, pygmy beaked whale, bandolero beaked whale.

Mesoplodon perrini Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Perrin’s beaked whale.

Mesoplodon stejnegeri Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Stejneger’s beaked whale, saber-toothed beaked whale, Bering Sea beaked whale, North Pacific beaked whale.

Mesoplodon traversii Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Spade-toothed beaked whale, Traver’s beaked whale, Bahamondi’s beaked whale.

Tasmacetus shepherdi Status: Data deficient DD
Common name: Shepherd’s beaked whale, Tasman beaked whale, Tasman whale.

Ziphius cavirostris Status: Least Concern LC
Common name: Cuvier´s beaked whale, Goosebeak whale, Goose-beaked Whale.

 

Sperm Whales

Family Physeteridae
Physeter macrocephalus (Physeter catodon)
Common name: sperm whale, cachalot, pot whale, spermacet(i) whale, trompe whale. Status: Vulnerable VU. Physeter macrocephalus Mediterranean subpopulation Status: Endangered species EN.

Family Kogiidae. Status: Data deficient DD
Kogia breviceps Common name: pygmy sperm whale, lesser cachalot, short-headed sperm whale, lesser sperm whale.
Kogia sima Common name: dwarf sperm whale, Owen’s pygmy sperm whale.

 

Monodontidae – belugas, narwhals

Family Monodontidae.
Monodon monoceros Common name: narwhal, narwhale, unicorn whale, horn whale.Status: Near Threatened NT
Delphinapterus leucas Common name: beluga whale, white whale, melonhead, beluga, sea canary.Status: Near Threatened NT. Delphinapterus leucas Cook Inlet subpopulation. Status: Critically Endangered CR

 

 

 

Marine Mammals of the World go to website
Review of Small Cetacean go to website
Odontocetes – the toothed whales go to website