For a comprehensive taxonomic listing of all cetacean families, genera, subgenera, species and subspecies, including junior synonyms, unjustified emendations, suppressed names, misspellings and other non-operative names, please visit the World Cetacea Database at www.marinespecies.org/cetacea.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out DCP’s Dolphin Species Song.
Oceanic dolphins are the members of the Delphinidae family of the sub-order Odontoceti of Cetaceaans. 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 Pilot whales, and the Orca and its relatives, are commonly called whales, rather than dolphins. They are also sometimes collectively known as “blackfish“.
The Delphinidae vary in size from 1.2 metres and 40 kg (Heaviside’s Dolphin), up to 7 meters and 4.5 tonnes (the Orca). Most species weigh between about 50 and about 200 kg. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and all are carnivores, mostly taking fish and squid.
- Commerson’s Dolphin, Cephalorhyncus commersonii
- Chilean Dolphin, Cephalorhyncus eutropia
- Heaviside’s Dolphin, Cephalorhyncus heavisidii
- Hector’s Dolphin, Cephalorhyncus hectori
- Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis
- Short-beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis
- Arabian Common Dolphin, Delphinus tropicalis
- Pygmy Killer Whale, Feresa attenuata
- Short-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala macrorhyncus
- Long-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas
- Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus
- Fraser’s Dolphin, Lagenodelphis hosei
- Atlantic White-sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus
- White-beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris
- Peale’s Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus australis
- Hourglass Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus cruciger
- Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
- Dusky Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obscurus
- Northern Right Whale Dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis
- Southern Right Whale Dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii
- Irrawaddy Dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris
- Australian Snubfin Dolphin, Orcaella heinsohni – 2005 discovery
- Orca(Killer Whale), Orcinus orca
- Melon-headed Whale, Peponocephala electra
- False Killer Whale, Pseudorca crassidens
- Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis
- Pacific Humpback Dolphin, Sousa chinensis
- Indian Humpback Dolphin, Sousa plumbea
- Atlantic Humpback Dolphin, Sousa teuszii
- Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Stenella attenuata
- Clymene Dolphin, Stenella clymene
- Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba
- Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Stenella frontalis
- Spinner Dolphin, Stenella longirostris
- Rough-toothed Dolphin, Steno bredanensis
- Indian Ocean Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops aduncus
- Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
River dolphins are four species of dolphin which reside in freshwater rivers and estuaries. They are classed in the Platanistoidea superfamily of the Odontoceti sub-order of Cetacea. Three species live in fresh water rivers. The fourth 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.
- Amazon River Dolphin, Inia geoffrensis
- Baiji, Lipotes vexillifer – presumed to be extinct as of 13 December 2006
- La Plata Dolphin, Pontoporia blainvillei
- Ganges and Indus River Dolphin, Platanista gangetica – In some publications these are known as separate species