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Dolphin Diagram

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae

Species of Dolphins

To name just a few...

Hourglass Dolphin

Hourglass Dolphin

(Lagenorynchus cruciger)

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

(Stenella frontalis)

Hector's Dolphin

Hector's Dolphin

(Cephalorhynchus hectori)

Fraser's Dolphin

Fraser's Dolphin

(Lagenodelphis hosei)

Dusky Dolphin

Dusky Dolphin

(Lagenorhynchus obscurus)

Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin

(Stenella coeruleoalba)

Dolphin Facts

Some Interesting Facts about Dolphins

Dolphins are of the aquatic mammal family Delphinidae. It is estimated there are between 30 to 40 species of dolphins.1

Although they live in water, dolphins are mammals and breath air through their blowhole, which is located at the top of their head. Some types of dolphins must rise to the surface to breathe every 20 to 30 seconds while others can hold their breath as long as 30 minutes.2

Dolphins are highly social, playful, curious and intelligent. They live in groups or families called Pods.

Dolphins sleep by resting one half of their brain at a time so that one eye is always open.3 This allows them to rise to the surface to breathe and to protect themselves from predators.

Male dolphins are called Bulls and female dolphins are called Cows.

A baby dolphin is called a calf. Baby dolphins are born tail first and suckle from their mother for up to 4 years. Mother dolphins produce milk that is extremely rich in fat, often up to 50 percent.4

Each dolphin has its own signature whistle to identify itself.5

Dolphins have excellent vision and well-developed eyes.

Dolphins are carnivores eating mostly fish and squid and sometimes crustaceans.

Dolphins have a thick layer of fat under their skin called blubber, which helps them to keep warm.

See the word dolphin in other languages!


Dolphins use a type of sonar called echolocation, locating objects by producing frequencies with clicking sounds and listening for the echo. From this they can gather precise information about the size, distance and location of objects around them. During echolocation, dolphins emit up to 700 clicking sounds per second.4

Click here to view an example of dolphin echolocation.



More Dolphin Facts

How smart are dolphins?