Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Animals · Animal ethology · Comparative psychology · Animal models · Outline · Index

?Oceanic dolphin
Fossil range: Template:Fossil range
Pacific white-sided dolphins
Pacific white-sided dolphins
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Superfamily: Delphinoidea
Family: Delphinidae
Gray, 1821

See text.

Oceanic dolphins are members of the cetacean family Delphinidae. These marine mammals are related to whales and porpoises. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves. 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 killer whale (orca), pilot (long-finned and short-finned), melon-headed, pygmy killer and false killer whales, are commonly called whales, rather than dolphins; they are also sometimes collectively known as "blackfish".


The Delphinidae are the most diverse of the cetacean families, with numerous variations between species. They range in size from 1.2 metres (Template:Convert/ft)Template:Convert/test/A and 40 kilograms (Template:Convert/LoffAonSoff)Template:Convert/test/A (Haviside's dolphin), to 9 metres (Template:Convert/ft)Template:Convert/test/A and 10 tonnes (orca). Most species weigh between approximately Template:Convert/andTemplate:Convert/test/A. They typically have curved dorsal fins, clear 'beaks' at the front of their heads, and forehead melons, although exceptions to all of these rules are found. They have a wide range of colors and patterns.[1]

Most delphinids primarily eat fish, along with a smaller number of squid and small crustaceans, but some species specialise in eating squid, or, in the case of the orca, also eat marine mammals and birds. All, however, are purely carnivorous. They typically have between 100 and 200 teeth, although a few species have considerably fewer.

Delphinids travel in large pods, which may number a thousand individuals in some species. Each pod forages over a range of a few dozen to a few hundred square miles. Some pods have a loose social structure, with individuals frequently joining or leaving, but others seem to be more permanent, perhaps dominated by a male and a 'harem' of females.[1] Individuals communicate by sound, producing low-frequency whistles, and also produce high-frequency broadband clicks of 80-220 kHz, which are primarily used for echolocation. Gestation lasts from 10 to 12 months, and results in the birth of a single calf.


See also: List of dolphins
  • Suborder Odontoceti
    • Superfamily Delphinoidea
      • Family Delphinidae
        • Genus Peponocephala
          • Melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra
        • Genus Orcinus
        • Genus Feresa
          • Pygmy killer whale, Feresa attenuata
        • Genus Pseudorca
          • False killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens
        • Genus Globicephala
          • Long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas
          • Short-finned pilot whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus
        • Genus Delphinus
          • Long-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus capensis
          • Short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis
        • Genus Lissodelphis
          • Northern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis
          • Southern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii
        • Genus Sotalia
          • Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis
          • Costero, Sotalia guianensis
        • Genus Sousa
          • Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis
          • Indian humpback dolphin, Sousa plumbea
          • Atlantic humpback dolphin, Sousa teuszii
        • Genus Stenella
          • Atlantic spotted dolphin, Stenella frontalis
          • Clymene dolphin, Stenella clymene
          • Pantropical spotted dolphin, Stenella attenuata
          • Spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris
          • Striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba
        • Genus Steno
          • Rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis
        • Genus Tursiops
          • Common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
          • Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus
          • Burrunan dolphin, Tursiops australis
        • Genus Cephalorhynchus
          • Chilean dolphin, Cephalorhynchus eutropia
          • Commerson's dolphin, Cephalorhynchus commersonii
          • Heaviside's dolphin, Cephalorhynchus heavisidii
          • Hector's dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori
        • Genus Grampus
          • Risso's dolphin, Grampus griseus
        • Genus Lagenodelphis
          • Fraser's dolphin, Lagenodelphis hosei
        • Genus Lagenorhynchus
          • Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus
          • Dusky dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obscurus
          • Hourglass dolphin, Lagenorhynchus cruciger
          • Pacific white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
          • Peale's dolphin, Lagenorhynchus australis
          • White-beaked dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris
        • Genus Orcaella
          • Irrawaddy dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris
          • Australian snubfin dolphin, Orcaella heinsohni
        • Genus †Australodelphis
          • Australodelphis mirus
        • Genus †Etruridelphis
          • Etruridelphis giulii [2]

Recent molecular analyses indicate that several delphinid genera (especially Stenella and Lagenorhynchus) are not monophyletic as currently recognized. Thus, significant taxonomic revisions within the family are likely.[How to reference and link to summary or text]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Evans, Peter G.H. (1984). Macdonald, D. The Encyclopedia of Mammals, 180–185, New York: Facts on File.
  2. Bianucci, G., Vaiani, S. C. & Casati, S. (2009): A new delphinid record (Odontoceti, Cetacea) from the Early Pliocene of Tuscany (Central Italy): systematics and biostratigraphic considerations. N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh., 254: 275–292.

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).