Saturday, May 12, 2012

What Exactly Is A "Spotted Deep-Sea Porpoise?"

The word porpoise has often been used colloquially to describe porpoises, dolphins and in some cases larger whales. However, the family Phocoenidae are very different from dolphins in addition to being the smallest family of the order Cetacea. The difference between dolphins and porpoises is clear in that members of this family have small flippers, lack the prominent beak associated with many dolphins and have a more triangular dorsal fin rather than falcate. The teeth of porpoises are chisel shaped rather than conical as they are in most dolphins, and many species of porpoise frequent inshore, comparatively shallow water.

Easily identifiable at sea, the main dolphins porpoises differences being that porpoises do not exhibit the clearly defined beak so characteristic of many dolphin species and they have a low triangular dorsal fin situated midway down the back. 

'How can a porpoise which "frequents inshore, comparatively shallow water" be a Spotted "Deep-Sea" Porpoise?  It also has what look's to me like a "prominent beak" as well as a "falcate" shaped(curved and tapering to a point, sickle-shaped) dorsal fin.'

Spotted Dolphin or Atlantic Spotted Dolphin


Greg May said...

KING OF AQUARIA says: "Marineland of Florida called their dolphins 'porpoises' since that name was used for many years along America's East Coast and to avoid confusion with the saltwater game fish called 'dolphin'. In scientific terms, a dolphin is a small whale-like mammal whose snout forms a beak whereas a porpoise has a blunt snout. Now things really get confusing when there are two dolphins - Risso's dolphin and the Irrawady dolphin - that do not have beaks. So now you look at their teeth: a dolphin has conical or cone-shaped teeth whereas a popoise has spade-shaped teeth. Regarding the 'deepsea spotted porpoise' I think they meant to say 'deepwater' spotted porpoise. This cetacean, Stenella plagiodon, was exhibited at Marineland and was found further offshore than the bottlenose. Marineland collectors invented the 'tail grabber' to capture them while they were bowriding in front of the collecting boat."

Wade G. Burck said...

Thanks again for all the great antidotes/history. So rich and varied is the history of captive animals.
Email from one of CircusNOSpin's regular circus fan readers I thought you would appreciate:

Appreciate.. as always.. you in-depth discussions.. and........of course.. photos..


Hope all is well with you............!!

In reading.. and learning.. through your “operant” behavior discussion.. happened

across this video of Shanthi (elephant).. YouTube video

with commentary by her “handler”.. with several of her comments... such as

“I don’t tell Shanthi to play the harmonica. She plays it as she wishes.... EXCEPT..

I MIGHT put it up and ask her to play for .. (and my description.. “high-paying


Do WE KNOW that she enjoys playing it??? Has she composed a melody?

Does she relish our applause when she finishes her “composition”? Is she

ready for Julliard??

And.. (change of subject)... in reading and enjoying your “aqua” adventures..

I remember visiting Marineland of the Pacific.. I believe in the 1980’s?? That

is the first.. and foremost park of that type that I recall hearing about. I may

have a video. Seems like a top-notch operation. I was sorry to hear that is

is no more.