Whether you’re a dolphin lover or just want to know about some of the largest species of marine mammal, here are the ten largest dolphins in the world.
1. Blue Whale
The blue whale is the second largest animal in the world, weighing up to 200 tons and reaching lengths of over 30 feet. These massive creatures migrate along the equator, feeding on krill during winter months.
2. Humpback Whale
Also known as the “sea cow,” humpbacks are found worldwide and grow to around 40 ft long. They travel in pods of 50 to 60 individuals. Their vocalizations include whistles, moos, grunts, groans, squeals, barks, hollers, and roars.
3. Killer Whale
Killer whales are named for their hunting technique, which involves attacking prey underwater and then coming up for air to drag it down into the depths again. This behavior allows the killer whale to hunt alone or in groups while remaining undetected.
4. Fin Whale
Fin whales were hunted heavily until they became near extinct until scientists began working to save them. Now fin whales can be found in all oceans. They reach lengths of over 30 feet and weigh between 55 and 130 tons.
5. Sei Whale
Sei whales live in warmer waters in the north-central Pacific Ocean. The males become extremely agitated when they detect female sei whales in the area because they will often attack boats and ships.
6. Minke Whale
Minke whales belong to the dolphin family and live in cold water temperatures in polar regions. Although not usually considered one of the larger dolphins, minke whales can weigh more than 100 tons and measure nearly 32 feet in length.
7. Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins have distinctive blowholes that serve as breathing holes. Other common names for bottlenose dolphins are spinner dolphins, false killer whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
8. Risso’s Dolphin
Risso’s dolphins are known to inhabit warm seas and oceans alike. Males tend to stand out due to the large patches of skin that cover their bodies.
9. Long-finned Pilot Whale
Long-finned pilot whales live in coastal environments where they typically feed on small organisms at the surface. At night time, they are also known to form tight communities of social animals who sleep together in rafts.
10. Sperm Whale
Sperm whales are highly intelligent mammals that have been observed using tools to get food from deep-water habitats.
Rough-toothed Dolphin (6.9 – 9.3 feet)
Rough-toothed Dolphin (6.9 – 9.3 feet)
In addition to its grooved teeth, this dolphin also has black and dark gray spots on its ventral sides that give it a look of a prehistoric lizard.
No crease can be seen on the head and nose of rough-toothed dolphins.
In the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, you can find rough-toothed dolphins living off fish, squid, and octopus.
About 35 years is the average lifespan of these dolphins. In our top ten list, rough-toothed dolphins rank ten, measuring nine feet long and weighing 350 pounds.
Northern & Southern Right Whale Dolphin (6.5 – 10.2 feet)
The world’s largest dolphin species, the right whale dolphin grows up to ten feet long and weighs over three tons. They prefer living in cool water temperatures and feed primarily on squid and fish.
Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (8.2 – 10 feet)
The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is one of the most recognizable species of marine mammal. They are known for their unique coloration and distinctive dorsal fins. This species is considered highly vulnerable due to overfishing. Their population declined dramatically throughout the 20th century. In recent decades, however, there has been encouraging progress in protecting their habitat and reducing human interactions with them. Today, many populations are stable or increasing. However, some areas remain threatened.
White-Beaked Dolphin (7.2 – 10.2 feet)
The white-beaked dolphin is one of the most commonly seen bottlenose dolphins in the North Atlantic. They are usually found alone or in small groups, feeding primarily on fish such as herring, mackerel, squid, and shrimp. Their diet includes plankton, zooplankton, and crustaceans.
They are typically found in waters around 50°N latitude. They prefer deep water and rarely come close to shore. These dolphins often feed during daylight hours.
Risso’s Dolphin (8.5 – 13 feet)
Risso’s dolphins are one of the most recognizable species of bottlenose dolphins. This small group of dolphins lives primarily in tropical oceans around the world, especially off the coastlines of Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.
These dolphins live in groups of about 20 individuals, usually consisting of a mother and her calves. There is some evidence that males form groups as well.
The average lifespan of a Risso’s dolphin is approximately 12 years.
Common Bottlenose Dolphin (8.2 – 13 feet)
The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), sometimes called the “familiar ocean mammal,” is the familiar ocean mammal most people think of when hearing the word. Although it is commonly found in coastal and open ocean waters throughout the world, especially along the Atlantic coast of North America, they are often seen around boats and ships in warm tropical seas such as the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. They are one of the few species of marine mammals that regularly swim near human populations, and many people enjoy watching them play in the surf.
They are easily identified by their large size, their long slender bodies, and their distinctive white markings on their blackish brown skin. Their dorsal fin is usually dark, while the rest of their skin is pale grey-white. A small patch of light colored skin just above their eyes is visible in some individuals, giving them a somewhat comical appearance. This feature is quite variable among individual animals, making identification difficult. In addition, their teeth are larger than those of other dolphins, and they lack the canine protrusions typical of killer whales.
Although the common bottlenose dolphin appears similar to the striped dolphin, there are several
False Killer Whale (20 feet)
False killer whales aren’t actually related to true killer whales. They look like dolphins, but they’re actually part of the dolphin family. Like dolphins, they live in pods and travel together throughout the ocean. But unlike dolphins, false killers don’t have flippers. Instead, they use their strong tail fins to propel themselves forward.
The false killer whales’ name comes from the fact that it looks similar to the real thing. In addition to having a black dorsal fin, they also have a white belly, a dark gray body, and a light gray underside.
They eat mostly fish, although some scientists think they might even eat octopus.