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).

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What does it mean when you dream about a porpoise?

See Dolphin.

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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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Numbers of the rare vaquita porpoise, which only lives in the upper Gulf of California in Mexico, may now have dropped to less than ten according to research published today in Royal Society Open Science.
In 2012, conservation group WWF complained to the European Commission that the UK government hadn't set up any protected areas for the harbour porpoise.
A WIRRAL hovercraft crew leapt into action to rescue a stranded porpoise they spotted on a Wirral beach.
A pod of dolphins (and their porpoise friend, Petey) is in trouble.
Such glimpses of the shy Yangtze finless porpoise, the only aquatic mammal left in China's longest river and known in Chinese as the 'smiling angel' for its perma-grin, are increasingly rare.
That's very encouraging," said Wang Ding, 60, a porpoise expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Chatto & Windus, an imprint of publishing house Vintage, has acquired UK and Commonwealth (ex Canada) rights to a new novel by Mark Haddon, titled The Porpoise, literary news company The Bookseller revealed on Tuesday.
Rod Penrose, Wales Strandings Co-ordinator for the CSIP, said: "It is not unusual to find harbour porpoise stranded at this time of year.
A SEASIDE village was left mystified when the rotting body of a porpoise was found stuffed into a suitcase on the beach.
The most recent incident happened on Bank Holiday Monday, when the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team found a porpoise on the beach close to Tower Grounds, washed up from the River Mersey.