Dolphins, Whales & Porpoises
Information about Dolphins:
Dolphins are oceanic mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are nearly forty different species in seventeen different genera. The smallest is the Maui’s Dolphin at 4 feet (1.2 m) and the largest is the Orca or Killer Whale, which, despite it’s name is a dolphin and not a whale. Dolphins inhabit nearly all the oceans in the world, and can be found in tropical reefs and kelp forests, as well as in the open oceans many miles from land. They are famous for their intelligence, and to this day there is a great discussion as to whether or not their pops and clicks represent a language.
The family Delphinidae is the largest of the Cetacean order. In addition to being intelligent, dolphins have a very keen sense of hearing, and can hear sounds well out of the range of humans. They are very social animals, living in pods of a few or up to many dozen. They are also seen as very playful animals, jumping and frolicking in the water, interacting with divers or swimmers, and even riding waves with surfers.
Dolphins have few predators, and for some species they are the apex predator. Their biggest threat comes from humans, who either kill them accidentally while fishing, consume them, or degrade their habitat with pollution.