Names Of Whales

Overall there are around 90 different species of cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises) currently living in our ocean.

Below you will find a lists containing the common, lessor known and scientific names of most of the whale species (including dolphins and porpoises).

After reading through the many different names of various whale species you can learn more about their individual characteristics and suborders by scrolling to the bottom of the whale name list.

Baleen Whales

Blue whale - Sibbald’s rorqual  – Great nothern roqual (Balaenoptera musculus) (This whale is part of the roqual family)

Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

Pygmy blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda)

Bowhead whale - Greenland right whale (Balaena mysticetus)

Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera brydei) (This whale is part of the roqual family) (Named after Johan Byrde)

Pygmy Byrde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni)

Fin whale - Razorback – Finback – Herring whale – Finner (Balaenoptera physalus) (This whale is part of the roqual family)

Gray whale - Desert whale – Gray back – Devil fish – California gray whale- Mussell digger – Rip sack – Scrag whale (Eschrichtius robustus)

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Minke whale - Winged whale

Antarctic or southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) (This whale is part of the roqual family)

Common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) (This whale is part of the roqual family)

Dwarf minke whale

Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai)

Right whale

Pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata)

North atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)

North pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica)

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)

Sei whale - Pollack whale – Coalfish whale – Rudophi’s whale (Balaenoptera borealis) (This whale is part of the roqual family)

Toothed Whales

Andrew’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini)

Arnoux’s beaked whale (Berardius arnuxii)

Baird’s beaked whale (Berardius bairdii)

Blainville’s Beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris)

Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris)

Gervais’ beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus)

Ginkgo toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens)

Gray’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi)

Hector’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon hectori)

Hubb’s Beaked whale (Mesoplodon carlhubbsi)

Longman’s beaked whale (Indopacetus pacificus)

Perrin’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon perrini)

Pygmy beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianus)

Shepherd’s beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi)

Sowerby’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens)

Stejneger’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri)

Strap-toothed whale (Mesoplodon layardii)

True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus)

Beluga whale  (Delphinapterus leucas)

Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)

Southern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon planifrons)

Narwhal whale - Unicorn of the sea –  (Monodon monoceros)

Spade-toothed whale (Mesoplodon traversii)

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima)

Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps)

Dolphins

White-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris)

Long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis)

Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Arabian common dolphin (Delphinus tropicalis)

Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Indian ocean or indo-pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)

Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia)

Chinese white dolphin

Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene)

Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii)

Costero dolphin (Sotalia guianensis)

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus)

Franciscana dolphin (La Plata dolphin) - (Pontoporia blainvillei)

Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)

Heaviside’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii)

Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori)

Hourglass dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger)

Atlantic Humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszi)

Indian Humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea)

Pacific Humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis)

Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)

Orca – killer whale – black fish (Orcinus orca)

False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)

Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)

Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra)

Peale’s dolphin (Lagenorhynchus australis)

Northern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis borealis)

Southern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii)

Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)

Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris)

Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis)

Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata)

Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas)

Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus)

Amazon river dolphin (Boto) – (Inia geoffrensis)

Chinese river dolphin (Baiji) – (Lipotes vexillifer)

Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica)

Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor)

Australian snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni)

Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)

Tucuxi dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis)

Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus)

Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens)

Porpoises

Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis)

Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)

Finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides)

Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

Spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica)

Vaquita (Phocoena sinus)

Cetacean characteristics and differences

There are currently around 90 known species of cetacea in existence today.

These species are broken down into two suborder known as Baleen Whales and Toothed Whales.

Baleen whales in general tend to be much larger than their toothed whale counterparts, however there are much more species of toothed whale than there are in the baleen whale suborder.

Part of this is due to the fact that dolphins and porpoises are also a part of the toothed whale suborder.

When it comes to the characteristics that separate the two suborders there are several unique characteristics.

First, baleen whales are known as filter feeders and are born with baleen plates instead of teeth.

These whales feed by swimming through the water with their mouth open engulfing large amounts of food and water.

They then expel the water by pushing it out with their tongue while leaving their food trapped inside their baleen bristles.

Toothed whales on the other hand have teeth and in some cases will use their teeth to attack, grab and chew their prey.

Not all species however are known for chewing their food and some use their teeth primarily for defense or to show dominance.

A few toothed whale species may only have a small handful of teeth that appear to be fairly useless when it comes to their survival.

A second major difference between the two species is the use of and reliance on echolocation.

Toothed whales are known to use echolocation to help them navigate the ocean and search for prey.

The existence of echolocation among the baleen whale suborder seems either very limited or non existent.

Recent research indicates that some baleen whales may be able to use echolocation, however it remains unconfirmed at this point.

Third, baleen whales are known to possess two blowholes while the toothed whale suborder only possesses one.

There are a couple of theories as to why this difference exists with two of the most common theories being that toothed whales have developed one of their blowholes into an echolocation system and the idea that baleen whales need to be able to inhale more air due to their larger size.

Aside from these differences there are other characteristics that separate the two suborders however these happen to be some of the most prevalent and well known differentiating features.