The Toothed Whales

The Odontoceti (Toothed) Whales

Dusky Dolphin

The vast majority of whale species are from the Toothed Whales family. These include some whales and all the dolphins and porpoises species. 

Orca – Killer Whale

Generally they are smaller in size (except the Sperm and Killer Whales) than the Baleen whales, have a single blow hole rather than the two. They have the ability to echolocate by using a specialised organ, the Melon that sits on the front of their heads. And of course they have teeth instead of Baleen.

Common Dolphin

The Toothed whales are divided into seven families: the Sperm Whales, Pygmy Sperm Whales, Beaked Whales, River Dolphins, Belugas and Narwhals, Dolphins and Porpoise. 

Sperm Whale

A quick way to field identify a Toothed whale is that they have one blow hole and teeth in their mouths.

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

The Toothed Whale Species of Oceania

Sperm Whale

The Sperm Whale Superfamily

There are three members of the Sperm Whale Superfamily in two families – Sperm Whales and the Pygmy Sperm Whales.

The Sperm Whale is the only member of the Sperm Whales (Physeter) family. The Pygmy Sperm Whales (Kogiidae) family has two members the Dwarf Sperm Whale and Pygmy Sperm Whale.

Most everything about the Sperm Whale is epic! Largest of the toothed whales, largest predator and biggest brain of any animal on Earth. They are one of the most famous whale species and due to mankind’s long interactions with them surrounded in myths and legends.

The Dwarf Sperm Whale and Pygmy Sperm Whale are both small whales similar in size to dolphins. They share the same family characteristics as the much larger Sperm Whale of only having teeth on their lower jaws, a lopsided blowhole on the lefthand side and a spermaceti organ.

Links to Whale Species Pages

Sperm Whale

Dwarf Sperm Whale
Pygmy Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale (Blue), Pygmy Sperm Whale (Orange) and Dwarf Sperm Whale (Green)  – Image Wikimedia Commons

Beaked Whales

The Beaked Whales are probably the most mysterious and least known of all the whales species because they are so seldom seen. Living in the deep oceans they rarely sighted and scientist only get the chance to examine them when one washes ashore. If your looking for record breakers then these are your guys with the deepest and longest dives ever recorded.

Links to Whale Species Pages

Andrews’ Beaked Whale
Arnoux’s Beaked Whale
Blainville’s Beaked Whale
Cuvier’s Beaked Whale
Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale
Gray’s Beaked Whale
Hector’s Beaked Whale
Longman’s Beaked Whale
Shepherd’s Beaked Whale
Strap-toothed Beaked Whale
True’s Beaked Whale

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin


Dolphins are the most abundant and varied of all the whale species. Yes Dolphins are whales! And yes the Killer Whale is the largest Dolphin species. Go figure? They can be found in the open ocean, close in along the coast in estuaries and in rivers. There are over 40 species of dolphins worldwide.

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

Blackfish (Dolphins)

There is an unofficial group of dolphin species referred to as’Blackfish’ because of their long streamlined body shape and black colouring.

Links to Whale Species Pages

False Killer Whale
Melon-headed Whale
Orca – Killer Whale
Pilot Whale
– Long-finned Pilot Whale
– Short-finned Pilot Whale
Pygmy Killer Whale
Risso’s Dolphin

Risso’s Dolphin

Links to Whale Species Pages

Australian Snubfin Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphins
– Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Off Shore)
– Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Inshore or Coastal)
– Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
– Burranan Dolphin

Common Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Fraser’s Dolphin
Hectors Dolphin (NZ)
Hourglass Dolphin
Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin
Māui Dolphin (NZ)
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin
Rough-toothed Dolphin
Spinner Dolphin
Striped Dolphin
Southern Bottlenose Whale
Southern Right Whale Dolphin

Australian Humpback Dolphin


Porpoises are small toothed whales that are very closely related to oceanic dolphins. Porpoises are generally smaller than dolphins and have different shaped heads. Where dolphins have a bulbous melon and protruding beak, porpoises have blunt shaped heads. Their teeth are spade-shaped rather than conical-shaped teeth that dolphins have. Porpoises are also more solitary whereas dolphins are far more social.

Links to Whale Species Pages

Spectacled Porpoise

Copyright 2020 David Jenkins – Whale Spotter