Toothed Whales (Odontoceti)

Sascha K. Hooker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Porpoises, dolphins, beaked whales, and sperm whales are characterized as toothed whales by the presence of teeth rather than baleen. They include species as small as the vaquita and as large as the sperm whale, and exhibit diverse characteristics, distribution, and feeding strategies. They have exceptional biosonar ability, echolocating like bats to sense prey and environment. Some species dive to great depths to find their prey. Many species are also highly social, and some species even possess menopause. Larger toothed whales were captured by whalers, but smaller species are currently most at risk, threatened by the consequences of our growing human population—climate change, habitat loss and degradation, fisheries and noise impacts, contaminants, plastics, and other waste.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Third Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128043271
ISBN (Print)9780128043813
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • cetacean
  • conservation
  • culture
  • dolphin
  • echolocation
  • Odontocete
  • porpoise
  • river dolphins
  • teeth
  • whale


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