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Home / News / General / Hawaii’s cetaceans

Hawaii’s cetaceans

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By: Denver Leaman


A quick checklist of Hawaii’s cetaceans




  • Baird’s Beaked Whale
    (Berardius bairdii) suborder: Odonticeti family: Ziphiidae
    35’-38’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • Blainville’s Beaked Whale
    (Mesoplodon densirostris) suborder: Odonticeti family: Ziphiidae
    16’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • Bryde’s Whale
    (Balaenoptera edeni) suborder: Mysticeti family: Balaenopteridae
    39’-42’ long. Has been sighted in Hawaiian waters.

  • Cuvier’s Beaked Whale
    (Ziphius cavirostris) suborder: Odonticeti family: Ziphiidae
    16’-22’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • Dwarf Sperm Whale
    (Kogia simus) suborder: Odonticeti family: Physeteridae
    8’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • False Killer Whale
    (Pseudorca crassidens) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    16’-19’. Occurs in Hawaiian waters. Actually a dolphin.

  • Fin Whale
    (Balaenoptera physalus) suborder: Mysticeti family: Balaenopteridae
    58’-60’ long. Has been sighted in Hawaiian waters.

  • Humpback Whale
    (Megaptera novaeangliae) suborder: Mysticeti family: Balaenopteridae
    35’-45’ long. State mammal of Hawaii. Common in Hawaiian waters during the winter season.

  • Killer Whale
    (Orcinus orca) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    20’-25’ long. Has been sighted in Hawaiian waters. Actually a dolphin.

  • Melon-headed Whale
    (Peponocephala electra) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    8’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters. Actually a dolphin.

  • Minke Whale
    (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) suborder: Mysticeti family: Balaenopteridae
    27’ long. Has been sighted in Hawaiian waters.

  • Northern Right Whale
    (Eubalaena glcialis) suborder: Mysticeti family: Balaenidae
    40’-50’ long. Sighted near Maui in 1979.

  • Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
    (Tursiops gilli) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    8’-11’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters. Many list this dolphin as Tursiops truncatus but I prefer the name used above.

  • Pygmy Killer Whale
    (Feresa attenuata) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    9’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters. Actually a dolphin.

  • Pygmy Sperm Whale
    (Kogia breviceps) suborder: Odonticeti family: Physeteridae
    10’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • Risso’s Dolphin
    (Grampus griseus) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    13’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

  • Rough-toothed Dolphin
    (Steno bredanensis) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    8’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters.

  • Short-finned Pilot Whale
    (Globicephala macrorhynchus) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    13’-18’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters. Actually a dolphin.

  • Sperm Whale
    (Physeter macrocephalus) suborder: Odonticeti family: Physeteridae
    40’-60’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters.

  • Spinner Dolphin
    (Stenella longirostris) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    5’-7’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters. The most common dolphin encountered during whale watch cruises.

  • Spotted Dolphin
    (Stenella attenuata) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    6’-7’ long. Common in Hawaiian waters.

  • Striped Dolphin
    (Stenella coeruleoalba) suborder: Odonticeti family: Delphinidae
    7’-9’ long. Occurs in Hawaiian waters.

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Hawaii’s cetaceans
  • Humpback whales
  • Striped Dolphin
  • Spinner Dolphin
  • Baird’s Beaked Whale
  • Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Blainville's Beaked Whale
  • Bryde's Whale
  • Cuvier's Beaked Whale
  • Dwarf Sperm Whale
  • False Killer Whale
  • Fin Whale
  • Killer Whale
  • Melon-headed Whale
  • Minke Whale
  • Northern Right Whale
  • Pygmy Killer Whale
  • Pygmy Sperm Whale
  • Risso's Dolphin
  • Rough-toothed Dolphin
  • Short-finned Pilot Whale
  • Sperm Whale
  • Spotted Dolphin


    Denver Leaman

     
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