Gallery - Cetacea
Fully aquatic, mainly marine, mammals with practically no hair but a thick layer of blubber. Fore limbs are paddles, no external hindlimbs, tail enlarged to form swimming organ and lateral flukes. Dorsal fin also present. Skeleton very light and skull highly modified with blow-hole on top of head. Cetaceans have many adaptations for diving and echolocation.
The common dolphin is the name given to two species (and possibly a third) of dolphin making up the genus Delphinus.
Prior to the mid-1990s, most taxonomists only recognised one species in this genus, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis. Modern cetologists usually recognise two species — the short-beaked common dolphin, which retains the systematic name Delphinus delphis, and the long-beaked common dolphin Delphinus capensis.
The harbour porpoise is one of six species of porpoise. It is one of the smallest marine mammals. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries, and as such, is the most familiar porpoise to whale watchers. This porpoise often ventures up rivers, and has been seen hundreds of miles from the sea.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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