Dolphin

For other uses, see Dolphin (disambiguation).
Genera
See article below.

Dolphins are aquatic mammals related to whales and porpoises. The name is from Ancient Greek δελφίς delphis meaning "with a womb", viz. "a 'fish' with a womb".

The word is used in a few different ways. It can mean:

  1. Any member of the family Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins),
  2. Any member of the families Delphinidae and Platanistoidea (oceanic and river dolphins),
  3. Any member of the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales; these include the above families and some others),
  4. Used casually as a synonym for Bottlenose Dolphin, the most common and familiar species of dolphin.

In this article, the second definition is used.

Porpoises (suborder Odontoceti, family Phocoenidae) are thus not dolphins in our sense. Orcas and some related species belong to the Delphinidae family and therefore qualify as dolphins, even though they are called whales in common language.

There are almost 40 species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (88 lb) (Maui's Dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (the Orca). Most species weigh about 50 to 200 kg (110 to 440 lb). They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and all are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid.

The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacea, and relatively recent: dolphins evolved about 10 million years ago, during the Miocene.

Taxonomy

Six animals in the family Delphinidae are commonly called "whales" but are strictly speaking dolphins. They are sometimes called "blackfish":

Hybrid Dolphins

In 1933, three strange dolphins were beached off the Irish coast; these appeared to be hybrids between Risso's Dolphin and the Bottlenose Dolphin. This mating has since been repeated in captivity and a hybrid calf was born. In captivity, a Bottlenose Dolphin and a Rough-Toothed Dolphin produced hybrid offspring. In the wild, Spinner Dolphins have sometimes hybridised with Spotted Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. In the wild, bands of males of one dolphin species have been observed to mate with lone female Spinners. Blue Whales, Fin Whales and Humpback Whales all hybridize in the wild. Dall's Porpoises and Harbour Porpoises have hybridized in the wild. There has also been a reported hybrid between a beluga and a narwhal. See also wolphin.

Evolution and anatomy of dolphins

Dolphins, along with whales and porpoises, are descendants of land-living mammals, most likely of the Artiodactyl order. Modern dolphin skeletons have two small rod shaped pelvic bones thought to be left-over hind legs. They entered the water roughly 50 million years ago. See evolution of cetaceans for the details.

Dolphins have a fusiform body, adapted for fast swimming. The head contains the melon, a round organ used for echolocation. In many species, the jaws are elongated, forming a distinct beak; for some species like the Bottlenose, there is a curved mouth that looks like a fixed smile. Teeth can be very numerous (up to 250) in several species. The dolphin brain is large and has a highly structured cortex, which often is referred to in discussions about their high intelligence.

Their teeth are arranged in a way that works as an array or antenna focusing the incoming sound, making it easier for them to pinpoint the exact location of an object.

The basic coloration patterns are shades of gray with a light underside and a distinct dark cape on the back. It is often combined with lines and patches of different hue and contrast. See individual species articles for details.

Dolphin behavior

Dolphins in balance.

Dolphins are widely believed to be amongst the most intelligent of all animals. A typical statement would be that dolphins are roughly as intelligent as a two-year-old human. However, experts in comparative psychology or animal cognition would be reluctant to make any such estimate, as quantitative comparisons of intelligence between species are notoriously difficult to make in principle. Straightforward comparisons of species' relative intelligence are complicated by differences in sensory apparatus, response modes, and nature of cognition; furthermore, the difficulty and expense of doing experimental work with a large marine animal mean that even such tests as can meaningfully be done have still not been done, or have been carried out with inadequate sample size and methodology. See the Dolphin intelligence article for more details.

Dolphins often leap above the water surface, sometimes performing acrobatic figures (e.g. the spinner dolphin). Scientists aren't quite certain about the purpose of this behavior, but it may be to locate schools of fish by looking at above water signs, like feeding birds. They could also be communicating to other dolphins to join a hunt, or attempting to dislodge parasites. Perhaps they just do it for fun. Play is a very important part of dolphins' lives and they can often be observed playing with seaweed or playfighting with other dolphins. They have even been seen harassing other creatures, like seabirds and turtles. Frequently dolphins will accompany boats, riding the bow waves.

They are also famous for their willingness to occasionally approach humans and playfully interact with them in the water. In return, in some cultures like in Ancient Greece they were treated with welcome; a ship spotting dolphins riding in their wake was considered a good omen for a smooth voyage. There are many stories of dolphins protecting shipwrecked sailors against sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers.

Dolphins are social animals, living in pods (also called "schools") of up to a dozen animals. In places with a high abundance of food, schools can join temporarily, forming an aggregation called a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1000 dolphins. The individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles and other vocalizations. They also use ultrasonic sounds for echolocation.

Dolphin leaping in the air.

Membership in schools is not rigid; interchange is common. However, the animals can establish strong bonds between each other. This leads to them staying with injured or ill fellows for support.

Because of their high capacity for learning, dolphins have been employed by humans for any number of purposes. Dolphins trained to perform in front of an audience have become a favorite attraction in dolphinaria, for example SeaWorld. Dolphin/Human interaction is also employed in a curative sense at places where dolphins work with autistic or otherwise disabled children. The military has employed dolphins for various purposes from finding mines to rescuing lost or trapped persons. Such military dolphins, however, drew scrutiny during the Vietnam War when rumors circulated that dolphins were being trained to kill Vietnamese Skin Divers.

In May 2005, researchers in Australia discovered a cultural aspect of dolphin behaviour: Some dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) teach their offspring to use a tool. The animals break off sponges and put them onto their mouths thus protecting the delicate body part during their hunt for fish on the seabed. Other than with primate simians, the knowledge to use a tool is mostly handed over only from mothers to daughters. The technology to use sponges as mouth protection is not genetically inherited but a taught cultural behaviour.

In captivity, many dolphins seem to have committed suicide. They either do so by repeatedly slamming their head against the pool walls or other solid objects or simply by not coming up for air anymore. Probably one of the best known cases of dolphin suicide is that of a dolphin named Cathy, one of the bottlenose dolphins that performed in the television series Flipper. She most likely died of self induced asphyxiation in the presence of her trainer Richard O'Barry.[1]

Compare also: whale behavior

Senses

Most dolphins have acute eyesight both in and out of the water and their sense of hearing is far above our own. Though they have a small ear opening on each side of their head it is believed hearing underwater is also if not exclusively done with the lower jaw which conducts the vibrations to the middle ear via a fat filled cavity in the lower jaw bone. Hearing is also used for echolocation which seems to be an ability all dolphins have. The dolphin's sense of touch is also well-developed.

However, they seem to lack a well-developed sense of smell, but they most likely can taste and do show preferences for certain kinds of fish. Since dolphins spend most of their time below the surface in the wild, just tasting the water could act as a sense of smell.

Feeding

Dolphins are predators, chasing their prey at high speed. The dentition is adapted to the animals they hunt: Species with long beaks and many teeth forage on fish, whereas short beaks and lesser tooth count are linked to catching squid. Some dolphins may take crustaceans. Usually, the prey is swallowed whole. The larger species, especially the orca, are capable of eating marine mammals, even large whales. There are no known reports of cannibalism amongst dolphins.

Individual species may employ a number of methods of hunting:

Dolphin lore


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Individual species may employ a number of methods of hunting:. Further tests revealed that Epson did not mislead consumers. There are no known reports of cannibalism amongst dolphins. The reason that the Dutch Consumer Association retracted their statement was because it was pointed out that Epson actually states how many pages (at usually a 5% coverage of a A4 sheet of paper) each cartridge can print. The larger species, especially the orca, are capable of eating marine mammals, even large whales. If the capping mechanism dries out, then the heads risk getting clogged, and thus an expensive repair will be necessary. Usually, the prey is swallowed whole. Epson leaves ink in the cartridges (and in fact have done so ever since they developed the piezo-electric head) due to the way the capping mechanism works.

Some dolphins may take crustaceans. (PC World Friday, October 24, 2003 [2]). The dentition is adapted to the animals they hunt: Species with long beaks and many teeth forage on fish, whereas short beaks and lesser tooth count are linked to catching squid. Later that month however, the group retracted its call for a nationwide boycott of Epson products and issued a statement conceding that residual ink left in Epson cartridges is necessary for the printers to function properly. Dolphins are predators, chasing their prey at high speed. The Netherlands-based organization alleged that Epson customers were unfairly charged for ink they could never use. Since dolphins spend most of their time below the surface in the wild, just tasting the water could act as a sense of smell. In July 2003, A Dutch Consumer Association it advised its 640,000 members to boycott Epson ink jet printers.

However, they seem to lack a well-developed sense of smell, but they most likely can taste and do show preferences for certain kinds of fish. One disgruntled customer Bob Powell ([1]), claims to have dismantled an apparently empty ink tank from his Epson printer and found over 2 milliliters of ink remaining in the tank (25% of the original capacity). The dolphin's sense of touch is also well-developed. It is also said that the company is forcing customers to purchase replacement ink cartridges before they are truly spent by using 'intelligence chips' to count how many pages have been printed in order to estimate the remaining ink, without actually monitoring the true ink levels. Hearing is also used for echolocation which seems to be an ability all dolphins have. In recent years, Epson has been accused of manufacturing expensive consumables for their printers. Though they have a small ear opening on each side of their head it is believed hearing underwater is also if not exclusively done with the lower jaw which conducts the vibrations to the middle ear via a fat filled cavity in the lower jaw bone. Because its sensor is smaller than the standard 35 mm film frame for which the lenses it takes are designed, lenses mounted on the R-D1 have the field of view of a lens 1.53 times as long as their stated focal length would have on a standard 35mm camera.

Most dolphins have acute eyesight both in and out of the water and their sense of hearing is far above our own. This camera is notable for being the first digital rangefinder on the market. Compare also: whale behavior. In 2004 Epson introduced their digital rangefinder camera, the R-D1, which takes Leica M mount lenses and Leica screw mount lenses with an adapter ring. She most likely died of self induced asphyxiation in the presence of her trainer Richard O'Barry.[1]. and Epson Corporation merged to form Seiko Epson Corporation. Probably one of the best known cases of dolphin suicide is that of a dolphin named Cathy, one of the bottlenose dolphins that performed in the television series Flipper. In November 1985, Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd.

They either do so by repeatedly slamming their head against the pool walls or other solid objects or simply by not coming up for air anymore. In July 1982, the company officially named itself Epson Corporation and launched the world's first handheld computer, the HC-20 (HX-20), and in May 1983 the world's first portable color LCD TV was developed and launched by the company. In captivity, many dolphins seem to have committed suicide. This was soon the best selling printer in the United States, despite the fact that it could only print text characters and symbols. The technology to use sponges as mouth protection is not genetically inherited but a taught cultural behaviour. After two years of further development, an improved model, the MX-80, was launched in October 1980. Other than with primate simians, the knowledge to use a tool is mostly handed over only from mothers to daughters. In June 1978, the TX-80 eighty-column dot-matrix printer was released to the market, and was mainly used as a system printer for the Commodore PET Computer.

The animals break off sponges and put them onto their mouths thus protecting the delicate body part during their hunt for fish on the seabed. was established to sell printers for Sinshu Seiki Co. In May 2005, researchers in Australia discovered a cultural aspect of dolphin behaviour: Some dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) teach their offspring to use a tool. In April of the same year Epson America Inc. Such military dolphins, however, drew scrutiny during the Vietnam War when rumors circulated that dolphins were being trained to kill Vietnamese Skin Divers. In June 1975, the name Epson was coined after the next generation of the EP-101 was released to the public ("Son of EP-101" became "Son of EP" which in turn became "Epson"). The military has employed dolphins for various purposes from finding mines to rescuing lost or trapped persons. In September 1968, the company launched the world's first miniprinter, the EP-101, which was soon incorporated into many calculators.

Dolphin/Human interaction is also employed in a curative sense at places where dolphins work with autistic or otherwise disabled children. started development of an electronic printer. Dolphins trained to perform in front of an audience have become a favorite attraction in dolphinaria, for example SeaWorld. When Suwa Seikosha was selected to be the official time keeper for the Tokyo Olympic games in 1964 a printing timer was required to time events, and Shinshu Seiki Co. Because of their high capacity for learning, dolphins have been employed by humans for any number of purposes. (now known as Seiko Instruments, Inc). This leads to them staying with injured or ill fellows for support. (now known as Epson), Ltd was established to supply precision watch parts to Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd.

However, the animals can establish strong bonds between each other. In 1961 Shinshu Seiki Co. Membership in schools is not rigid; interchange is common. Net sales over 2004/2005 amounted to ¥1.479 trillion. They also use ultrasonic sounds for echolocation. The current CEO is Saburo Kusama. The individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles and other vocalizations. Based in Japan, they have numerous subsidiaries worldwide.

In places with a high abundance of food, schools can join temporarily, forming an aggregation called a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1000 dolphins. Seiko Epson Corporation (in Japanese: セイコーエプソン株式会社; Seiko Epson Kabushikigaisha; often referred to as simply Epson) is one of the world's largest manufacturers of inkjet, dot-matrix and laser printers, scanners, timepieces (through their famous Seiko division), desktop computers, business, multimedia and home theatre projectors, robots and industrial automation equipment, point of sale docket printers and cash registers, laptops, integrated circuits, LCD components and other associated electronic components. Dolphins are social animals, living in pods (also called "schools") of up to a dozen animals. There are many stories of dolphins protecting shipwrecked sailors against sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers. In return, in some cultures like in Ancient Greece they were treated with welcome; a ship spotting dolphins riding in their wake was considered a good omen for a smooth voyage.

They are also famous for their willingness to occasionally approach humans and playfully interact with them in the water. Frequently dolphins will accompany boats, riding the bow waves. They have even been seen harassing other creatures, like seabirds and turtles. Play is a very important part of dolphins' lives and they can often be observed playing with seaweed or playfighting with other dolphins.

Perhaps they just do it for fun. They could also be communicating to other dolphins to join a hunt, or attempting to dislodge parasites. Scientists aren't quite certain about the purpose of this behavior, but it may be to locate schools of fish by looking at above water signs, like feeding birds. the spinner dolphin).

Dolphins often leap above the water surface, sometimes performing acrobatic figures (e.g. See the Dolphin intelligence article for more details. Straightforward comparisons of species' relative intelligence are complicated by differences in sensory apparatus, response modes, and nature of cognition; furthermore, the difficulty and expense of doing experimental work with a large marine animal mean that even such tests as can meaningfully be done have still not been done, or have been carried out with inadequate sample size and methodology. However, experts in comparative psychology or animal cognition would be reluctant to make any such estimate, as quantitative comparisons of intelligence between species are notoriously difficult to make in principle.

A typical statement would be that dolphins are roughly as intelligent as a two-year-old human. Dolphins are widely believed to be amongst the most intelligent of all animals. See individual species articles for details. It is often combined with lines and patches of different hue and contrast.

The basic coloration patterns are shades of gray with a light underside and a distinct dark cape on the back. Their teeth are arranged in a way that works as an array or antenna focusing the incoming sound, making it easier for them to pinpoint the exact location of an object. The dolphin brain is large and has a highly structured cortex, which often is referred to in discussions about their high intelligence. Teeth can be very numerous (up to 250) in several species.

In many species, the jaws are elongated, forming a distinct beak; for some species like the Bottlenose, there is a curved mouth that looks like a fixed smile. The head contains the melon, a round organ used for echolocation. Dolphins have a fusiform body, adapted for fast swimming. See evolution of cetaceans for the details.

They entered the water roughly 50 million years ago. Modern dolphin skeletons have two small rod shaped pelvic bones thought to be left-over hind legs. Dolphins, along with whales and porpoises, are descendants of land-living mammals, most likely of the Artiodactyl order. See also wolphin.

There has also been a reported hybrid between a beluga and a narwhal. Dall's Porpoises and Harbour Porpoises have hybridized in the wild. Blue Whales, Fin Whales and Humpback Whales all hybridize in the wild. In the wild, bands of males of one dolphin species have been observed to mate with lone female Spinners.

In the wild, Spinner Dolphins have sometimes hybridised with Spotted Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. In captivity, a Bottlenose Dolphin and a Rough-Toothed Dolphin produced hybrid offspring. This mating has since been repeated in captivity and a hybrid calf was born. In 1933, three strange dolphins were beached off the Irish coast; these appeared to be hybrids between Risso's Dolphin and the Bottlenose Dolphin.

They are sometimes called "blackfish":. Six animals in the family Delphinidae are commonly called "whales" but are strictly speaking dolphins. . The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacea, and relatively recent: dolphins evolved about 10 million years ago, during the Miocene.

They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and all are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid. Most species weigh about 50 to 200 kg (110 to 440 lb). They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (88 lb) (Maui's Dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (the Orca). There are almost 40 species of dolphin in 17 genera.

Orcas and some related species belong to the Delphinidae family and therefore qualify as dolphins, even though they are called whales in common language. Porpoises (suborder Odontoceti, family Phocoenidae) are thus not dolphins in our sense. In this article, the second definition is used. It can mean:.

The word is used in a few different ways. "a 'fish' with a womb". The name is from Ancient Greek δελφίς delphis meaning "with a womb", viz. Dolphins are aquatic mammals related to whales and porpoises.

In the William Gibson short story Johnny Mnemonic and the film by the same name (starring Keanu Reeves), cyborg dolphins were used in war-time by the military to find submarines and, after the war, by a group of revolutionaries to decode encrypted information. One of the mates of the ship is named Akeakamai, in honor of the real-life dolphin from Louis Herman's animal language research. In the book Startide Rising by author David Brin, the spaceship Streaker is manned by neo-dolphins (dolphins genetically engineered to match human intelligence). In one scene, the dolphins' misbehavior elicits the following quote from Zissou: "Son of a bitch, I'm sick of these dolphins.".

In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, marine researcher Zissou (played by Bill Murray) has trained reconaissance dolphins which apparently are temperamental and rarely follow their instructions. In seaQuest, Darwin the dolphin could communicate with English speakers using a vocoder, an invention that translated the clicks and whistles to English and back. Mike and the 'Bots then quickly apoligize. While doing so, the SOL gets blasted by a ship that turns out to be piloted by dolphins.

In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Devil Fish," Mike and the 'Bots mock dolphins. Their logo depicts an aqua-colored bottlenose dolphin wearing an American football helmet and jumping in front of a coral-colored sunburst. An American National Football League (NFL) team is named the Miami Dolphins. A book called The Music of Dolphins was written by Karen Hesse, about a girl who had lived with dolphins since the age of four.

Ecco the Dolphin stars in a series of games for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. After study at the Dolphins Plus research center in Key Largo, Florida, fantasy author Ken Grimwood wrote dolphins into his 1995 novel Into the Deep, including entire chapters written from the viewpoint of his dolphin characters. See Races from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Their story is told in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

However, their behavior was misinterpreted as playful acrobatics. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, dolphins are the second most intelligent creatures on Earth (after mice) and tried in vain to warn humans of the impending destruction of the planet. The television show was based on a 1963 film, and remade as a feature film in 1996 starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan (actor), as well as a television series running from 1995-2000 starring Jessica Alba. The popular television show Flipper, created by Ivan Tors, portrayed a dolphin in a friendly relationship with two boys, Sandy and Bud; a kind of sea going Lassie, Flipper understood English unusually well and was a marked hero: "Go tell Dad we're in trouble, Flipper! Hurry!" The show's theme song contains the lyric no one you see / is smarter than he.

Foraging - A recent study reported that wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops) in Western Australia use sponges to forage in the sea bed for food.[2]. Stunning - using the echolocation melon, very loud clicks are directed at prey, stunning them. Fish Wacking - where the dolphin uses its fluke to strike the fish, stunning it and sometimes sending it clear out of the water. Corralling - where fish are chased to shallow water where they are more easily captured.

Herding - where a superpod will control a school of fish while individual members take turns plowing through the herd, feeding. Short-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus. Long-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas. False Killer Whale, Psudoorca crassidens.

Pygmy Killer Whale, Feresa attenuata. Killer Whale, Orcinus orca. Melon-headed Whale, Peponocephalia electra. La Plata Dolphin (Franciscana), Pontoporia blainvillei.

Genus Pontoporia

    . Indus River Dolphin, Platanista minor. Ganges River Dolphin, Platanista gangetica. Genus Platanista
      .

      Chinese River Dolphin (Baiji), Lipotes vexillife. Genus Lipotes

        . Boto (Amazon River Dolphin), Inia geoffrensis. Genus Inia
          .

          Family Platanistoidea, River Dolphins

            . Short-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus. Long-finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas. Genus Globicephala
              .

              False Killer Whale, Pseudorca crassidens. Genus Pseudorca

                . Pygmy Killer Whale, Feresa attenuata. Genus Feresa
                  .

                  Killer Whale, Orcinus orca. Genus Orcinus

                    . Melon-headed Whale, Peponocephalia electra. Genus Peponocephalia
                      .

                      Irrawaddy Dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris. Australian Snubfin Dolphin, Orcaella heinsohni. Genus Orcaella

                        . White-Beaked Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris.

                        Peale's Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus australis. Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens. Hourglass Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus cruciger. Dusky Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obscurus.

                        Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus. Genus Lagenorhyncus

                          . Fraser's Dolphin, Lagenodelphis hosei. Genus Lagenodelphis
                            .

                            Risso's Dolphin, Grampus griseus. Genus Grampus

                              . Hector's Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori. Heaviside's Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus heavisidii.

                              Commerson's Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus commersonii. Chilean Dolphin, Cephalorhynchus eutropia. Genus Cephalorynchus

                                . Rough-Toothed Dolphin, Steno bredanensis.

                                Genus Steno

                                  . Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba. Spinner Dolphin, Stenella longirostris. Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Stenella attenuata.

                                  Clymene Dolphin, Stenella clymene. Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Stenella frontalis. Genus Stenella

                                    . Atlantic Humpbacked Dolphin, Sousa teuszii.

                                    Chinese White Dolphin (the Chinese variant), Sousa chinensis chinensis. Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphin, Sousa chinensis

                                      . Genus Sousa
                                        . Tucuxi, Sotalia fluviatilis.

                                        Genus Sotalia

                                          . Southern Rightwhale Dolphin, Lissiodelphis peronii. Northern Rightwhale Dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis. Genus Lissodelphis
                                            .

                                            Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus. Genus Tursiops

                                              . Short-Beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis. Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Delphinus capensis.

                                              Genus Delphinus

                                                . Family Delphinidae, oceanic Dolphins
                                                  . Suborder Odontoceti, toothed whales
                                                    . Used casually as a synonym for Bottlenose Dolphin, the most common and familiar species of dolphin.

                                                    Any member of the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales; these include the above families and some others),. Any member of the families Delphinidae and Platanistoidea (oceanic and river dolphins),. Any member of the family Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins),.

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