porpoise

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porpoise,

small whalewhale,
aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, found in all oceans of the world. Members of this order vary greatly in size and include the largest animals that have ever lived. Cetaceans never leave the water, even to give birth.
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 of the family Phocaenidae, allied to the dolphindolphin,
aquatic mammal, any of the small toothed whales of the family Delphinidae, numbering more than 50 species. These include the true, or beaked, dolphins, the killer whale, the pilot whale, and the freshwater species found in rivers of South America and S and E Asia.
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. Porpoises, like other whales, are mammals; they are warm-blooded, breathe air, and give birth to live young, which they suckle with milk. They are distinguished from dolphins by their smaller size and their rounded, beakless heads. Porpoises are 4 to 6 ft (120–180 cm) long and are black above and white below. Traveling in schools, porpoises prey on fish, often pursuing them long distances up rivers.

The finned porpoises, species of the genus Phocoena, have a dorsal fin. They are distributed throughout the world and include the harbour, or common, porpoise, P. phocoena, found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The vaquita, P. sinus, found only in the N Gulf of California, Mexico, is the smallest and most endangered species. The finless porpoises, genus Neophocaena, are found in the Indian and W Pacific oceans and in the Chang (Yangtze) River.

The fat of the porpoise yields a lubricating oil, and the flesh is sometimes eaten. In North America the dolphins (family Delphinidae) are sometimes called porpoises and the bottle-nosed dolphin is sometimes called the common porpoise. True porpoises are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Cetacea, family Phocoenidae.

Bibliography

See W. N. Kellogg, Porpoises and Sonar (1961); K. S. Norris, ed., Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises (1966) and, as author, The Porpoise Watcher (1974); R. Ellis, Dolphins and Porpoises (1989).

What does it mean when you dream about a porpoise?

See Dolphin.

porpoise

[′pȯr·pəs]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several species of marine mammals of the family Phocaenidae which have small flippers, a highly developed sonar system, and smooth, thick, hairless skin.

porpoise

1. any of various small cetacean mammals of the genus Phocaena and related genera, having a blunt snout and many teeth: family Delphinidae (or Phocaenidae)
2. any of various related cetaceans, esp the dolphin
References in periodicals archive ?
| The harbour porpoise found dead near the Little Orme, Penrhyn Bay, last week
The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is a small whale closely related to the family of oceanic dolphins.
Abundance of harbour porpoise and other cetaceans in the North Sea and adjacent waters.
The site has various displays informing people about the types of species that can be seen in the North Sea as well as activities for children, such as a harbour porpoise version of Snakes and Ladders.
Frese, "Post-mortem findings in harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from the German North and Baltic Seas," Journal of Comparative Pathology, vol.
Bottlenose dolphins were seen off New Quay pier in West Wales last Friday - followed later by other bottlenose dolphin sightings and harbour porpoise sightings in New Quay and off Porthgain Beacon.
Mr Saunders added: "Noise and harbour porpoises do not go together.
Organochlorines in Danish and west Greenland harbour porpoises. Mar Pollut Bull 22:458-462.
The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is a small cetacean widely distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic.
Again, you're most likely to see bottlenose dolphins, minke whales and harbour porpoises. There'll also be a visit to the society's wildlife centre in Spey Bay and a land safari, too.
But a family of harbour porpoises were once spotted feasting on fish off Vauxhall Bridge in the centre of the capital, while common seals have been regular visitors to the waters near Tower Bridge.