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Bottlenose Dolphins

Although the terms dolphin and porpoise are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to any member of the group, biologists recognizes three distinct families: True porpoises, Phocoenidae, with six marine species River dolphins, Platanistidae, with five freshwater species

True dolphins, Delphinidae, with more than thirty marine species; including killer and pilot whales (National Marine Mammal Laboratory)

There are distinct differences between dolphins and porpoises that should be noted before continuing:

  • Dolphins have a hook-shaped dorsal fin, porpoises have a triangular dorsal fin.
  • Dolphins have conical teeth, porpoises have flat-shaped teeth
  • Dolphins have a long, sharp snout, porpoises have a short, blunt snout
  • Dolphins may live in large pods, porpoises prefer pods of two to four
  • Dolphins produce sounds humans can hear, porpoise produce inaudible sounds


Harbor Porpoise

Bottlenose Dolphin


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