All whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to an order called cetaceans. Totaling approximately 78 species, cetaceans are divided into either of two groups: the mysticeti and the odontoceti, or baleen whales and toothed whales, respectively.Continue Reading
Baleen whales are so named because of their overlapping layers of baleen plates, which are composed of a fingernail-like substance called keratin. After the whale ingests a huge volume of seawater, they use the baleen as sieves for collecting microscopic organisms as the seawater is ejected from the whale's mouth. Baleen whales are the largest of all cetaceans, representing 11 distinct species across four families. These families include the right whales, pygmy right whales, gray whales and rorqual whales.
In addition to the presence of baleen, mysticeti whales can be differentiated from toothed whales by identifying the presence of two blowholes on top of the head. Toothed whales have only one blowhole.
Toothed whales are so named because they have teeth, as opposed to baleen. Depending on the species, toothed whales can have as many as 250 individual teeth. Toothed whales are more diverse than baleen whales, representing 67 distinct species. These species include such cetaceans as the killer whale, beluga whale and the bottlenose dolphin.Learn more about Marine Mammals
Orcas, the largest dolphins in the sea, subsist on a diet of fish, seals, sea lions, squid and dolphins, and they also eat porpoises and whales. Also called killer whales, orcas are highly social animals that travel in family groups called pods.Full Answer >
Dolphins are types of cetacean mammals that are closely related to porpoises and whales. They range in size from 4 feet to 30 feet and weigh up to 10 tons. Dolphins have a single blowhole, cone-shaped teeth and a pronounced beak. Although dolphins don't have body hair, they have hair follicles that may perform sensory functions. Dolphins are typically gray in color and live in both pelagic and coastal water.Full Answer >
Whales belong to an order of mammals called cetaceans, so an alternative generic term for a whale is a cetacean. However, cetaceans include not only whales, but dolphins and porpoises as well. These mammals are divided into two groups: baleen whales and toothed whales.Full Answer >
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are all members of the same taxonomic order. The order is called cetaceans, which are mammals that are warm-blooded but have little hair.Full Answer >