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New Zealand Whales and Dolphins



This classification, and the arrangement of species in the book, is based on the scheme published by Rice and Scheffer in “A List of the Marine Mammals of the World” (US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report — Fisheries No. 579, 1968). The names used, and for that matter parts of the classification, are in a state of flux because of the incomplete information available on some of the species. Also, there are probably poorly-defined geographical races of some species in different parts of the Pacific Ocean, and those in New Zealand waters may still await detailed description. One species of dolphin, Steno bredanensis (the Rough-Toothed Dolphin) which has been included in the New Zealand cetacean fauna with reservations by early writers, is not listed here. A skeleton of this dolphin in the U.S. National Museum is said to have been purchased in New Zealand in the early 1900s, but as the species is not known with any certainty from the southwest Pacific the original location of the skeleton must remain suspect.

Classification Of New Zealand Cetaceans

Order Mysticeti — Baleen Whales

Family Balaenidae — Right Whales

 Southern Right Whale — Balaena glacialis australis

 Pygmy Right Whale — Caperea marginata

Family Balaenopteridae — Rorquals

 Minke Whale — Balaenoptera acutorostrata

 Sei Whale — Balaenoptera borealis schlegeli

 Bryde's Whale — Balaenoptera edeni

 Southern Finner — Balaenoptera physalus quoyi

 Southern Blue Whale — Balaenoptera musculus intermedia

 Humpback Whale — Megaptera novaeangliae

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Order Odontoceti — Toothed Whales

Family Dephinidae — Dolphins

 Bottlenose Dolphin — Tursiops truncatus

 Risso's Dolphin — Grampus griseus

 Dusky Dolphin — Lagenorhynchus obscurus

 Hourglass Dolphin — Lagenorhynchus cruciger

 Spotted Dolphin — Stenella dubia

 Striped Dolphin — Stenella caeruleoalba

 Common or Saddleback Dolphin — Delphinus delphis

 Right Whale Dolphin — Lissodelphis peroni

 Hector's Dolphin — Cephalorhynchus hectori

 False Killer Whale — Pseudorca crassidens

 Pilot Whale — Globicephala melaena

 Killer Whale — Orcinus orca

 Black Finless Porpoise — Neophocaena phocaenoides

Family Physeteridae — Sperm Whales

 Sperm Whale — Physeter catodon

 Pygmy Sperm Whale — Kogia breviceps

Family Ziphiidae — Beaked Whales

 Shepherd's Beaked Whale — Tasmacetus shepherdi

 Scamperdown Whale — Mesoplodon grayi

 Hector's Beaked Whale — Mesoplodon hectori

 Andrew's Beaked Whale — Mesoplodon bowdoini

 Strap-Toothed Whale — Mesoplodon layardi

 Cuvier's or Goose-Beaked Whale — Ziphius cavirostris

 Large Beaked Whale — Berardius arnouxi

 Southern Bottlenose Whale — Hyperoodon planifrons

Note On The Illustrations

The colour patterns are as accurate as possible with the available information; the limitations of ink drawings mean that the actual colours cannot by portrayed as in life, and therefore the black should be interpreted as either that colour or shades of blue-black, and the stippling as shades of grey or grey-brown.