What species of whales have teeth?

Toothed whales

About 71 species of whale belong to the suborder of the toothed whale - most of them are small dolphins like the Irrawaddy dolphin and porpoise. However, there are also some 'big ones' such as the killer whale and the sperm whale; the latter can be up to 20 meters long.

Toothed whales are in 10 families subdivided: Chinese river dolphin (1 kind), Amazon Dolphin (1 kind), La Plata Dolphin (1 kind), South Asian river dolphin (1 kind), Actual dolphins (about 35 species), Porpoises (6 kinds), Pilot whales (2 species), sperm whale (1 kind), Minke Sperm whales (2 types) and Beaked whales (about 21 species).

All toothed whales rule them Echo location. With a sonar system (echo sounder) they can track down their prey, mostly agile fish and octopus. The melon, a waxy, lenticular structure in the forehead of the whale, focuses sounds that are mostly in the ultrasonic range between 20 and 220 kHz and are generated by the whales themselves in the nasal passages. The sound waves reflected by the prey are received in the oil-filled cavities in the lower jawbone and passed on through the bone and overlying fatty tissue to the ear and brain, where the information is evaluated. Through these echoes, the whale is able to determine the distance of an object, its size, shape and surface structure and thus to create a 'sound image' of its surroundings.

With the toothed whales, which are usually sociable, one can also distinguish individual animals by their individual whistling tones; sometimes group-specific dialects have developed in the animals.

Dolphins (Delphinidae) and porpoise (Phocoenidae) can easily be confused. An important distinguishing feature are their teeth: Bottlenose dolphins have spade-shaped teeth, while in the dolphins they are more conical.

Members of Dolphin family also have a larger, sickle-shaped dorsal fin. Most species have a melon-shaped head with a pronounced snout, the so-called beak. The dolphins include the smallest whale species - the Hectordelfin with a length of up to 1.4 meters. The largest dolphin species is the killer whale, also known as the orca, with a length of up to 7 meters.

Members of Bottlenose dolphin family on the other hand have blunt heads, which are due to the missing beak and the not pronounced melon-shaped forehead. The dorsal fin of most bottlenose dolphins is small and triangular in shape. The smallest bottlenose dolphin species is our native porpoise, up to 2 meters long, and the largest, up to 2.4 meters long, is the Dall harbor porpoise.

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