About Cetaceans

Cetaceans are marine mammals with streamlined (hydrodynamic) bodies that glide easily through their watery environment, horizontal flukes, front flippers for steering and a layer of blubber directly under the skin.  According to the Society for Marine Mammalogy, 90 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises are included in the Order Cetacea.

 

Species of Local Interest

Fact sheets of marine mammal species prepared by Museum apprentices.

Cetaceans Frequently Asked Questions

How big is a blue whale’s heart? Do whales have hair? These questions and many more are answered.

Balaenidae

A page devoted to the characteristics of the four species of this family (North Atlantic Right Whale, Southern Right Whale, North Pacific Right Whale, and Bowhead Whale)

Balaenopteridae

This family, also known as the 'rorquals,' includes the humpback whale and the blue whale

Delphinidae

Learn the general characteristics of the 36 different species of dolphin

Phocoenidae

What is the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise? Find out by comparing this family to the delphinidae

Platanistidae

What is a river dolphin, and how does it differ from other dolphins?

Physeteridae and Monodontidae

Species in these two families include the beluga, the narwhal, and the largest toothed whale in the world

Ziphiidae

How do beaked whales compare to the mighty sperm whale? Read on to find out!

Lesser Known Species

Learn about some of the least known whales in the world.

Last modified: April 18, 2012