TYPES OF DOLPHINS OR KINDS OF DOLPHINS

What Types Of Dolphins Or Kinds Of Dolphins Are There In The World? Photo: Isabel Beasley

What Types Of Dolphins Or Kinds Of Dolphins Are There In The World? Photo: Isabel Beasley

Types Or Kinds Of Dolphins

How many types of dolphins or kinds of dolphins are there in the world?

First, instead of saying kinds of dolphins or types of dolphins, zoologists prefer to talk about species of dolphins. Zoologists recognize almost 40 different species of dolphins in the world. These dolphin species are divided among 17 closely related groups called genera (plural of the word genus).

For instance, the Australian snubfin dolphin pictured at the left shares the genus Orcaella with a close relative from southern Asia called the Irawaddy dolphin: The Australian snubfin is Orcaella heinsohni, while the Irawaddy dolphins is Orcaella brevirostris. And the familiar bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has a look-alike cousin called the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus).

Scientists use these Latin species designations because they are precise; they help us avoid confusing types of dolphins with one another.

By the way, there are several kinds of dolphins that we don’t normally think of as dolphins. For instance, the orca, or killer whale is actually not a whale at all, but one of the many types of dolphins—it’s the world’s largest dolphin, in fact. Similarly, both species of pilot whale are actually kinds of dolphins rather than whales.

Four dolphin species, including the pink dolphin of the Amazon River and its tributaries, live in fresh water rather than salt.

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