Dolphins are aquatic mammals that fall under the parvorder Odontoceti, which includes porpoises and toothed whales such as sperm whales. Dolphins are widespread, with 40 recorded species. Members have streamlined bodies with hind limbs that are modified into flippers for propulsion.
Members also have an exceptionally well-developed sense of hearing – enabling some species to survive even if they are blinded. Dolphins are also well-insulated with a layer of blubber (fat) just underneath the skin. Dolphins are piscivores, which means they feed on fish. However, larger members, such as the orcas, will feed on other aquatic mammals such as seals.
Dolphins come in all sizes – The tiny Māui dolphin measures no more than 2 meters in length and weighs upto 50 kgs. The largest dolphin is the Orca, also known as the killer whale, and it measures over 30 feet in length and weighs a colossal 10,000 kilograms.
Dolphins are found in oceans all over the world, but most prefer the warmer tropical waters. Some members are also found in rivers and brackish waters; the most well known river dolphin is the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica).
Another interesting aspect is that the dolphins possess a special, fat-filled organ known as the “melon” which acts as an “acoustic lens”, aiding in sound recognition. This organ helps the animal to use echolocation – which effectively helps it to navigate and also hunt prey.
Scientific Names of Dolphin Species
- Common bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops truncatus
- Killer whale / orca – Orcinus orca
- Amazon river dolphin – Inia geoffrensis
- Chinese river dolphin/ Yangtze river dolphin/ Baiji – Lipotes vexillifer
- Long-finned pilot whale – Globicephala melas
- False killer whale – Pseudorca crassidens
- Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin -Tursiops aduncus
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Frequently Asked Questions on Dolphin Scientific Name
What is the scientific name of dolphins?
The scientific name of dolphin is Cetacea (Infraorder)