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Dolphins and Cetaceans glossary
Category: Animals and Nature > Dolphins and cetaceans
Date & country: 03/06/2011, US
Words: 88


Acute
Pointed.

Adult
A sexually mature animal which is (or is almost) fully grown.

Anchor patch
A variable grey-white anchor- or 'W'-shaped patch on the chests of some smaller cetaceans.

Anterior
Located toward the front.

Band
A pigmented diagonal or oblique line.

Beach-rubbing
Rubbing the body on stones in shallow water near to the shore.

Benthic
Living on or associated with the ocean bottom.

Blubber
An insulating layer of fat beneath the skin of most marine mammals

Bow-riding
Riding on the pressure wave in front of a ship or large whale.

Brackish Water
Slightly less salty than sea water.

Breach
To leap through the water surface. -- Breaching - The act of leaping out of the water and crashing back with a splash.

Bulbous
Rounded; resembling a bulb in shape.

Bull
Adult male cetacean.

Calf
A baby cetacean that is still being nursed by its mother.

Callosity
An area of roughened skin or horny growth on the head of a Right Whale.

Cape
In some cetaceans; a dark area usually on top of the head or on the back in front of the dorsal fin.

Cardiform Teeth
Sharp teeth that are closely set in rows and look like the bristles of a brush.

Caudal
Petaining to the tail.

Caudal Fin
The fin on the hindmost part of the body.

Cephalic
Pertaining to the head.

Circumpolar
Ranging around either pole.

Compressed
Flattened from side to side so that the animal is higher than wide.

Cow
Adult female cetacean.

Cusp
A pointed projection on a tooth.

Decurved
Curved downward.

Depressed
Flattened from top to bottom so that the animal is wider than high.

Dermal Ridge
A ridge of skin.

Dolphin
A relatively small cetacean with (usually) a curved dorsal fin; also used interchangably with 'porpoise' as a general term.

Dorsal
Pertaining to the back or upper surface of the body.

Dorsal Fin
The fin along the midline of the back.

Dorsal ridge
A hump or ridge which takes the place of a dorsal fin on some cetaceans.

Falcate
Strongly curved or lunate.

Flipper-slapping
Raising a flipper out of the water and slapping it onto the surface.

Fluking
The act of raising the flukes into the air upon diving.

Forked
Shaped like a fork; cleft or sharply angled.

Herd
A co-ordinated group of cetaceans (term is most often used when referring to baleen whales).

Homocercal Fin
A caudal fin with lobes of about the same size.

Juvenile
A young cetacean that is no longer a calf but is not yet sexually mature.

Keel
A sharp ridge usually located just in front of the flukes.

Lobe
A rounded projection.

Logging
Lying still at or near the surface.

Lunate
Crescent-shaped.

Mass stranding
The stranding of three or more cetaceans.

Mesopelagic
Living in the midwaters of the open ocean.

Nape
The area along the back between the head and the dorsal fin.

Nasal
Pertaining to the nostrils and the surrounding area.

Nostril
Referring to the physical hole where breathing takes place (in most cetaceans this is referred to as a blowhole.

Notch
V-shaped cut or indentation.

Oblique
Slanting.

Oceanic
Anywhere in the ocean beyond the edge of the continental shelf.

Pack-ice
A mass of floating pieces of ice driven together to form a solid layer.

Pantropical
Occurring globally between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Parasite
Organism that benefits from another organism by harming it.

Pelagic
Pertaining to or living in the open waters of seas or large lakes.

Permanent ice
Core areas of ice around both poles which do not melt.

Plankton
Microscopic plants and animals that drift near the surface of open waters.

Polar
Of the area around the poles.

Population
Group of animals from the same species that is isolated from other such groups and interbreeds over time til this group differ noticeably from other groups.

Porpoise
A small cetacean with a stocky body and an indistinct beak; also used interchangeably with 'dolphin' as a general term.

Porpoising
Leaping out of the water whilst moving forward at speed.

Posterior
Located toward the rear.

Predorsal
Pertaining to the area on the back between the snout and the dorsal fin origin.

Recurved
Curved or bent backward.

Resident
Stays in one area all year round.

Rooster Tail
Forward-angled spray of water formed when certain small cetaceans surface at high speed.

Rorqual
A baleen whale of the genus Balaenoptera (some experts include the Humpback Whale in this category)

Saddle or Saddle Patch
A blotch or patch of pigment that extends across the midline of the back and onto the sides.

Sargassum
A free-floating brown seaweed that occurs in warm marine environments.

School
A co-ordinated group of cetaceans (term is most often used when referring to dolphins).

Serrated
Saw-toothed or jagged.

Snout
The part of the head extending from the front margin of the eye to the anterior tip of the head.

Sonar
The system used by many cetaceans to echolocate (echolocation).

Sounding dive
A deep (and usually longer) dive after a series of shallow dives.

Spiracle
An uncommonly used name for the blowhole.

Spout
A visible cloud expelled by a cetacean during exhalation at the water surface; also called the blow.

Stripe
A thin horizontal line or area of pigment.

Subspecies
A recognisable sub-population of a species.

Tail-breaching
The act of throwing the rear portion of the body out of the water amd slapping it sideways onto the surface.

Terete
Slightly tapering at both ends.

Terminal
Located at the tip of the snout; describing the position of the mouth.

Throat grooves
Grooves on the throat present in some whales.

Transient
Always on the move rather than mostly in one area (term applies mostly to Orcas)

Transverse
Situated or lying across; crosswise.

Tropical
Pertaining to the low latitudes of the world between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Truncate
Having the edge vertical and straight.

Ventral
Pertaining to the undersside or lower part of the body.

Viviparous Reproduction
Bearing life young that have received nutrients from the mother during development.

Wake-riding
Swimming in the frothy wake of a vessel.