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Brief Summary

    Oceanic dolphin: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    Oceanic dolphins or Delphinidae are a widely distributed family of dolphins that live in the sea. Thirty extant species are described. They include several big species whose common names contain "whale" rather than "dolphin", such as the killer whale and the pilot whales. Delphinidae is a family within the superfamily Delphinoidea, which also includes the porpoises (Phocoenidae) and the Monodontidae (beluga whale and narwhal). River dolphins are relatives of the Delphinoidea.

    Oceanic dolphins range in size from the 5.6-foot (1.7 m)-long and 110-pound (50 kg) Maui's dolphin to the 31-foot (9.4 m) and 11-short-ton (10.0 t) killer whale, the largest known dolphin. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism; the males are larger than females. They have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not quite as flexible as seals, some dolphins can travel at 34.5 mph (55.5 km/h). Most delphinids primarily eat fish, along with a smaller number of squid and small crustaceans, but some species specialise in eating squid, or, in the case of the killer whale, also eat marine mammals and birds. All, however, are purely carnivorous. They typically have between 100 and 200 teeth, although a few species have considerably fewer. Delphinids travel in large pods, which may number a thousand individuals in some species. Each pod forages over a range of a few dozen to a few hundred square miles. Some pods have a loose social structure, with individuals frequently joining or leaving, but others seem to be more permanent, perhaps dominated by a male and a harem of females. Individuals communicate by sound, producing low-frequency whistles, and also produce high-frequency broadband clicks of 80–220 kHz, which are primarily used for echolocation. Gestation lasts from 10 to 18 months, and results in the birth of a single calf. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water.

    Although oceanic dolphins are widespread, most species prefer the warmer waters of the tropic zones, but some, like the right whale dolphin, prefer colder climates. Some have a global distribution, like the killer whale. Oceanic dolphins feed largely on fish and squid, but a few, like the killer whale, feed on large mammals, like seals. Male dolphins typically mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are typically born in the spring and summer, and females bear all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for relatively long times. Dolphins produce a variety of vocalizations, usually in the form of clicks and whistles.

    Oceanic dolphins are sometimes hunted in places such as Japan, in an activity known as dolphin drive hunting. Besides drive hunting, they also face threats from bycatch, habitat loss, and marine pollution. Dolphins have been depicted in various cultures worldwide. They occasionally feature in literature and film, as in the Warner Bros film Free Willy. Dolphins are sometimes kept in captivity and trained to perform in shows. The most common species of dolphin in captivity is the bottlenose dolphin, and less than 50 killer whales were found in oceanariums in 2012.

    Brief Summary
    provided by Ecomare
    You wouldn't think so, but there are thousands of dolphins swimming in the southern North Sea. There used to be a lot of bottlenose dolphins as well, but now you see white-beaked dolphins more often. Every once in awhile, a short-beaked common dolphin or a white-sided dolphin is spotted. Even more rare are Risso's dolphins, striped dolphins, orcas or pilot whales. Beaked whales form a separate group and include the bottlenose whale. These are ocean animals, which occasionally swim into the North Sea.

Comprehensive Description

Morphology

    Morphology
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Diagnostic Description

    Description
    provided by World Register of Marine Species
    The family Delphinidae has been called a 'taxonomic trash basket', because many small to medium-sized odontocetes of various forms have been lumped together in this group for centuries. Consequentely, the so-called delphinids are diverse in form. They range in size from 1 to 1.88 m dolphins of the genera Sotalia and Cephalorhynchus, to the killer whale, in which males can reach lengths of at least 9.8 m. However, most delphinids share the following characteristics: a marine habitat, a noticeable beak, conical teeth, and a large falcate dorsal fin set near the middle of the back. There are exceptions to everyone of these rules, except the presence of basically conical teeth. <123>

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual