Difference Between Dolphin and Porpoise

What is the difference between dolphin and porpoise?

Dolphin and porpoise are cetaceans. They are marine mammals that are closely related to whales. They belong to different families. Dolphins belong to Delphinidae while porpoises belong to the family Phocoenidae.

The main difference between dolphins and porpoises is that dolphins are large while porpoises are smaller in body size.

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Difference Between Dolphin and Porpoise

Comparison Table (Dolphin vs Porpoise)

CharacteristicsDolphinPorpoise
SpeciesThere are 40 dolphin species.There are 7 porpoise species.
SizeThey are larger in body size.They are comparatively smaller in body size.
Teeth structureThey have conical-shaped teeth.They have flattened spade-shaped teeth.
OverviewThey are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises.They are marine mammals related o dolphins and whales.
Social behaviorThey are very social.They are relatively shy.
Where foundThey are found in all oceans.They are only found in the Pacific Ocean.
Dorsal finThey have curved dorsal fins.They have triangular dorsal fins like sharks.
HeadThey have around, bulbous head and elongated jaws that form a distinct beak.They have small rounded heads and blunt jaws instead of beaks.
DietThey feed on fish, squid, and marine mammals.They feed on fish and squid.
PredatorsSharks and killer whales are their predators.Sharks and killer whales are their predators.
NoseThey have an elongated nose.They have a shorter nose.

What is Dolphin?

Dolphins come from the family Delphinidae. They consist of 40 species. They are larger in body size as compared to the porpoises. Several species of dolphin exhibit sexual dimorphism. Males are larger than females. They have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers.

Their teeth are conical in shape to catch their prey. Their hearing ability is sharp in order to capture sounds both on land and in water. Some species are well adapted to diving to a greater depth. Most species prefer warmer zones of the tropics. They travel and hunt in groups knowns as diddles.

They largely feed on fish and squids. Males mate with multiple females every year but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are born during the spring or summer season and females have the responsibility to raise them.

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What is Porpoise?

Porpoise is a group of fully aquatic marine mammals that are similar to a dolphin. There are 7 species of porpoise. The feature that makes them different from dolphins is the shape of teeth whereby porpoise’s teeth are flat and spade-shaped.

Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in that the females are larger than the males. They have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers. Some species are well adapted to living in greater depth.

They are found in rivers, coastal, and shelf waters. They feed largely on fish and squids. Females may get one calf every year under favorable conditions. The calves are born during the spring and summer seasons and the female has the responsibility of taking care of the calves. They produce ultrasonic clicks which are used both for navigation and social communication, unlike the dolphins.

Main Differences between Dolphin and Porpoise

  1. Dolphins are larger in body size while porpoises are smaller in body size.
  2. Dolphins have sharp conical-shaped teeth while porpoises have flat, spade-shaped teeth.
  3. Dolphins are very social mammals while porpoises are relatively shy mammals.
  4. Dolphins are found in all oceans while porpoises are found in the Pacific Ocean only.
  5. Dolphins have curved dorsal fins while porpoises have triangular-shaped dorsal fins.
  6. Dolphins have an elongated nose while porpoises have short noses.

Similarities between Dolphin and Porpoise

  1. They both breathe in oxygen.
  2. They are both warm-blooded animals.
  3. They are both intelligent.
  4. They are both carnivores.

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In Conclusion

Dolphins and porpoises are quite different from each other. Although they are confused, they are totally different, Dolphins are larger in body size as compared to porpoises. Dolphins have an elongated nose while porpoises have a short nose. The main feature that makes dolphins different from porpoise is body size.

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