Different Types of Whales
By Rebecca Rodriguez - July 13, 2023

Whales are some of the most amazing creatures on Earth. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they inhabit all oceans around the world. There are approximately 86 species of whales that have been identified and classified into two distinct groups: baleen whales (Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti). These two groups vary greatly in size, diet, habitat, behavior, anatomy, lifespan, and more. In this article, we will explore the different types of whales found around the world and discuss their unique characteristics.

Baleen whales are one group that consists mostly of large-bodied animals with long bodies covered in thick blubber for insulation against cold ocean temperatures. Their mouths contain fringed plates made from keratin called “baleen” which act like a filter to strain small food particles from seawater as they feed on planktonic crustaceans such as krill or copepods. The largest whale is the blue whale which can reach up to 33 meters (108 ft.) in length and weigh over 180 metric tons! Other examples include humpback whales whose males sing complex songs during mating season; right whales who use their heads to trap prey against the seafloor; and gray whales that migrate each year from feeding grounds in the Arctic to breed in warm coastal waters.

Getty Images/ Moment/ by wildestanimal

Toothed whales are a very different group of whales, usually smaller and more agile than baleen whales. They feed on fish and squid using their rows of conical teeth to catch and hold their prey. These whales possess a range of interesting adaptations such as echolocation – the ability to locate food using sound waves – and some species are able to dive over 3,000 meters (9,843 ft.) for up to two hours! Examples include sperm whales who use suction to catch giant squid; orcas who hunt in packs and have distinct dialects; and beluga whales which have distinctive white skin. Whales are an incredibly diverse group of animals that call the world’s oceans home. Despite their vast differences, they all share a common trait – intelligence. Whales are highly social, displaying complex behaviors such as cooperative hunting and communication with one another.