- Oceanic Dolphins without prominent beaks
- Oceanic Dolphins with prominent beaks
- Sperm Whales (Super family Physeteroidea)
- Beaked whales (Ziphidae family)
Oceanic Dolphins without prominent beaks
There is great variation in this group. Besides the differences in colour and pattern, the shapes of the bodies, beaks, flippers and dorsal fins are also highly variable. Some species even change in appearance as they age. However, they do share a number of characteristics, including relatively short, indistinct beaks, fairly robust bodies, smoothly sloping forehead and a notch in the middle of their flukes. The majority have prominent dorsal fin.
Ilustrations: Fishpics® & IMAR-DOP, UAç
Orca (Orcinus orca)>
Formerly known as Killer Whale, it Is the largest member of the dolphin family. distinctive jet black, brilliant white, and gray, markings and huge dorsal fin of the male, make it relatively easy to identify. It has black coloration, with white patches on sides. it has a conspicuous, elliptical white patch, behind each eye and a gray saddle patch behind the dorsal fin. Inquisitive and approachable. Fast swimmers. Live in mixed families groups.
Long-Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala lie)>
It shares the same genus (Globicephala) with the Short-finned pilot whale. The reason for their name it's because their unusual long pectoral fins. It has a black or dark grey bulbous forehead and light grey or white markings on the throat and belly regions. Curious is to say that grey/white region , forms the shape of an anchor. As above referred, the pectoral fins of this species is so big that can reach 15 at 20 % per cent of it's total body length.
Short-Finned Pilot Whale (Delphinus macrorhynchus)>
This animal prefers deep and tropical waters. They are often found in company of bottlenose dolphins and other small cetaceans. They are social animals and while traveling, different groups may swim abreast in a line several miles across. It has a blue-gray to dark coloration, with a gray or white diagonal stripe behind each eye. Entire pods sometimes seen logging, allowing close approach by boats.
False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)>
These animals have deep gray or black body colour, with gray or off-white "W" shape, on chest. They have a long, slender head that tapers to rounded beak. They are fast and active swimmers. Approaches boats to investigate. Often jumping out of water. Often lifts entire head and much of body out of the water when it surfaces, , and sometimes even flippers are visible.
Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)>
It is relatively easy to identify, particularly when they are old. It has a blue gray, gray-brown, or almost white body colour and pale underside. It has chromatic variations when getting older. It is uniformly gray at birth, as a juvenile it becomes chocolate brown and with age, the body colour fades to a very pale gray. It has a slightly bulging forehead that slopes steeply to mouth. Typically dives for 1 at 2 minutes but can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes. It is a shy animal, but sometimes may be possible approaching it. May associate with other species of dolphins, mainly, pilot whales.
Oceanic Dolphins with prominent beaks
These dolphins tend to have long, well defined beaks, streamlined or slightly robust bodies, smoothly sloping foreheads. and a single notch in the middle of their flukes. In size, The dolphins range in length from about 4 ¼ ft (1,3 m ) to 12 ¾ ft (3,9 m).
Diving sequence (Slow-Swimming):
Dolphin rises slowly;
Part of the head, back and dorsal fin appear above surface;
Head dips and back rolls forward;
Dolphin disappears; flukes may be visible when diving.
Diving sequence (Fast-Swimming):
Dolphin rises at high speed;
Begins to leave water at shallow angle;
Entire body comes out of water;
Re-enters water head first, na água .
Ilustrations: Fishpics® & IMAR-DOP, UAç
Rough-Toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis)>
It is rarely seen and is poorly known. The long, narrow beak blends into the forehead without a crease. The narrowness of the head and the unusually large eyes , give it a slightly reptilian appearance. It has a dark gray coloration. It has a white or pinkish white lips and throat, and white or pinkish white underside. Difficult to observe , as may stay submerged for as long as 15 minutes.
Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosel)>
At birth, members of this specie, can reach 1 meter long and 30 Kg. As they grow, normally they reach 2,75 meters long and a weigh of 200 Kg. In a general way, members of this species have small flippers and the dorsal fin and beak are also modest in size. The upper body is grey-blue to grey brown. Also there is a cream colored line that runs along , the flanks , from the beak, above the eye to the anus. Also there is a dark stripe under this line. Normally, their belly and throat are white but sometimes can be tinged pink. When observed from far, this species can be mistaken with the Striped dolphin, which as similar coloration and can be found in the same regions.
Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)>
This dolphin is fairly easy to identify by its distinctive stripe. It has a pale gray , finger-shaped, marking below dorsal fin. It is bluish gray or brownish upper side, and white or pink underside. It is active and highly conspicuous, Frequently breaches and it is capable of amazing acrobatics. Often associates with common dolphins.
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis)>
It has light spots cover dark areas of body, and dark spots cover light areas and remain distinctly defined. They also have a band of medium gray along each side. Spotting in adults varies greatly from one individual to another and from region to region. It can be extensive or sparse, and can be almost absent in some animals, especially for the younger specimens, It increases with age. It is very active at the surface, They are extremely active, above the surface, where sometimes jump out of water. It may be associated with bottlenose dolphins. They have a complex social structure, possible believed to include individual recognition and bonding.
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)>
It has a subdued gray colouring, having also a off white, light gray or pinkish, underside. It has robust head and body. The fluke has concave trailing edges and a distinct notch in middle. This dolphin, often lifts flukes above surface on a dive. Highly active at the surface and may be found in association with a variety of other cetaceans, as well as sharks and sea turtles. Powerful swimmer and often bow-rides.
Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)>
Often found in large, active schools, School size often varies seasonally and according to the time of the day . Fast swimmer and energetic acrobat. It has a dark coloration on the back. Hourglass pattern on sides, with a tan or yellowish patch from the eye to middle body, and gray to fluke. They also have a white or creamy white underside. In this specie , it may be possible to have to different kind of beaks, consisting in the length and width of the beak. Dorsal fin ranges from strongly falcate to nearly triangular and from black to mostly greyish white.
All sperm whales have a wax filled structure , known as the spermaceti organ , inside their heads. This may be used to control the animal’s buoyancy in the water and possibly as an acoustic lens to direct sound beams for echolocation.
They prefer deep water, where they feed on squid.
Size ranges between 2,1 m and the 18 meters in length.
Rises to surface slowly and deliberately;
Lifts head without rolling body forward;
Drops below surface and dives;
Dives may reach 200 at 300 meters.
Ilustrations: Fishpics® & IMAR-DOP, UAç
Dwarf Sperm Whale (Kogler we)>
Is an inconspicuous animal that generally lives a long way from shore. It has a bluish gray or , dark gray-black back, and the underside is paler. It has a false gill, an underling lower jaw and a creamy white arc, behind each eye. It has a prominent, falcate fin.
Pygmy Sperm Whale (KOGL breviceps)>
It is rarely seen, because tends to live a long distance from shore and has inconspicuous habits. It has a dark, steel gray to blue gray coloration upper side. Underside paler than rest of body and may be pinkish in colour. It has a false gill behind each eye, it may resemble a shark. It has a tiny, hooked, falcate fin. It has a pale circular mark in front of eye.
Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)>
When at the surface, bushy blow is usually , sufficient for identification. It has uniform purplish brown to dark gray body coloration, with wrinkled skin. Can remain submerged for over two hours, but typically dive time is less than 45 minutes. Interval between dives may be 5 at 15 minutes. When at the surface, usually remains almost motionless, but may swim leisurely. Dive sequence: The whale lifts its head out of the water for a final breath. Only two thirds of the body length can be seen during the blow. The body straightens out and, after gently arching its back, the whale may disappear from sight, dropping just below the surface. After accelerating forward, the whale reappears (part of its back, hump, and head are visible) and begins to arch its back again. With the back high out of water, the rounded hump and “knuckles” along the upper side are clearly visible. The flukes and rear third of the body are thrown high into the air and drop vertically, barely creating a ripple. On average dives reach the 200 at 300 meters
Beaked whales are the least known of all cetaceans. Some have never been seen at alive. In the Azores there are six species registered. They generally live in deep water far from land. They are small to medium size and range from under 13 ¼ ft (4 m) to nearly 13 meters in length. The most remarkable feature of beaked whales is the teeth of the males. Their shape and position are often crucial for a positive identification. Most males have only two teeth in the lower jaw and none in the upper jaw. There is a variation between coloration of the animals.
Blunt forehead and back (as far as dorsal fin), usually, visible as whale surfaces;
After blowing, whale cruises before diving (lying notably high in the water);
Flukes may be lifted above surface in preparation for dive;
Dive is deep, but whale typically does not travel much horizontal distance while submerged.
Ilustrations: Fishpics® & IMAR-DOP, UAç
True’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon mirus)>
It has not yet been positively identified at sea, so nothing is known about their behaviour. It has a dark gray or bluish gray back and mottled gray on underside. It has a small, curved dorsal fin.
Blainville’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon desinrostris)>
It is one of the oddest looking of all cetaceans. It has a pair of massive teeth that grow from substantial bulges in its lower jaw. It is an inconspicuous animal and it is difficult to find. Is has a flattened forehead and large spots all over its body. It has dark bluish gray upper side and light patch on underside. It has a prominent, curved or triangular dorsal fin.
Gervais's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon europaeus)>
It is poorly known, but it has a dark gray or marine blue upper side, and a pale gray underside, with white blotches. It has a prominent but narrow beak. It has a small, dorsal fin like sharks.
Sowerby's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodont bidens)>
It was the first of the beaked whales to be discovered. Little is known, but it has a slate gray or bluish gray upper side, and light bluish gray or white underside. It has teeth midway along beak. Probably unobtrusive and does not approach boats.
Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)>
It is a curious animal: approaches stationary boats. It was vulnerable specie for whaling between , during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It has a bulbous forehead, which is more pronounced in older animals. They also have a similar beak like dolphins. Its body coloration varies from dark gray to brown, being the forehead and underside paler. The fluke is large with concave trailing edges, with no notch. It may be lifted above surface before deep dive.
Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris)>
This whale appears to be one of the most widespread and abundant of the beaked whales. Normally avoids boats but is occasionally inquisitive and approachable. It has a goose beak head shape. The color varies with sex, location and age. Older animals can be so white.