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Toothed whales
Temporal range: late Eocene–Present
Bottlenose dolphin
Scientific classification
See text
Around 73

The Odontoceti is a suborder of the cetaceans. They are the toothed whales.

The Odontoceti includes all the whales which eat prey larger than plankton. Examples are: sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins, and others. As the name suggests, the suborder has teeth rather than the baleen of Mysticeti whales. This means they are predators of small to large sized prey.

The Sperm Whale Physeter, the Killer Whale Orca and the Pilot Whale Globicephala all take large prey. By means of co-operation, Killer Whales can take prey larger than themselves, up to and including Blue Whale calves. Sperm Whales are specialist feeders on giant squid.

There are about 73 species.[1][2]



  1. Hooker, Sascha K. (2009). Perrin, William F.; Wursig, Bernd; Thewissen, J.G M. eds. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (2 ed.). Academic Press. p. 1173. ISBN 978-0-12-373553-9 . 
  2. Reeves R. et al. 2003. Dolphins, whales, and porpoises. IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialists Group.