Whale Species in Canada

Whale is the common name for large marine mammals of the order Cetartiodactyla (formerly Cetacea). They are subdivided into the Mysticeti, or baleen whales, and Odontoceti, or toothed whales. Smaller kinds of toothed whales are called dolphins or porpoises. Thirty-five whale species are found at least occasionally in Canadian waters — 9 species of baleen whales, and 26 species of toothed whales (mostly dolphins and porpoises). The commercial pursuit of whales was significant in early European exploration of Canada (see Whaling). Since the end of commercial whaling in Canada in 1972, whale watching has become popular. Whales found in Canada range in size from about 60 kg for the harbour porpoise to well over 100 tonnes for the blue whale, making it the largest animal ever known.

Whale is the common name for large marine mammals of the order Cetartiodactyla (formerly Cetacea). They are subdivided into the Mysticeti, or baleen whales, and Odontoceti, or toothed whales. Smaller kinds of toothed whales are called dolphins or porpoises. Thirty-five whale species are found at least occasionally in Canadian waters — 9 species of baleen whales, and 26 species of toothed whales (mostly dolphins and porpoises). The commercial pursuit of whales was significant in early European exploration of Canada (see Whaling). Since the end of commercial whaling in Canada in 1972, whale watching has become popular. Whales found in Canada range in size from about 60 kg for the harbour porpoise to well over 100 tonnes for the blue whale, making it the largest animal ever known.


North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
Humpback Whale
Grey Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)
Beluga Whale (Ungava)
Northern Bottlenose Whale
Blue Whale Underwater

Whale Species in Canada

Baleen Whales

Common Name

Scientific Name

Ocean(s)

Blue whale

Balaenoptera musculus

Atlantic, Pacific

Bowhead whale

Balaena mysticetus

Arctic

Common minke whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Atlantic, Pacific

Fin whale

Balaenoptera physalus

Atlantic, Pacific

Grey whale

Eschrichtius robustus

Pacific

Humpback whale

Megaptera novaeangliae

Atlantic, Pacific

North Atlantic right whale

Eubalaena glacialis

Atlantic

North Pacific right whale

Eubalaena japonica

Pacific

Sei whale

Balaenoptera borealis

Atlantic, Pacific


Toothed Whales

Common Name

Scientific Name

Ocean(s)

Atlantic white-sided dolphin

Lagenorhynchus acutus

Atlantic

Baird’s beaked whale

Berardius bairdii

Pacific

Beluga

Delphinapterus leucas

Arctic, Atlantic

Blainville’s beaked whale

Mesoplodon densirostris

Atlantic

Common bottlenose dolphin

Tursiops truncatus

Atlantic, Pacific 

Common dolphin

Delphinus delphis

Atlantic, Pacific

Cuvier’s beaked whale

Ziphius cavirostris

Atlantic, Pacific

Dall’s porpoise

Phocoenoides dalli

Pacific

Dwarf sperm whale

Kogia sima

Pacific

Harbour porpoise

Phocoena phocoena

Atlantic, Pacific

Hubbs’ beaked whale

Mesoplodon carlhubbsi

Pacific

Killer whale (Orca)

Orcinus orca

Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific

Long-finned pilot whale

Globicephala melas

Atlantic

Narwhal

Monodon monoceros

Arctic

Northern bottlenose whale

Hyperoodon ampullatus

Atlantic

Northern right whale dolphin

Lissodelphis borealis

Pacific

Pacific white-sided dolphin

Lagenorhynchus obliquidens

Pacific

Pygmy sperm whale

Kogia breviceps

Atlantic, Pacific

Risso’s dolphin

Grampus griseus

Atlantic, Pacific

Short-finned pilot whale

Globicephala macrorhynchus

Pacific

Sowerby’s beaked whale

Mesoplodon bidens

Atlantic

Sperm whale

Physeter macrocephalus

Atlantic, Pacific

Stejneger’s beaked whale

Mesoplodon stejnegeri

Pacific

Striped dolphin

Stenella coeruleoalba

Atlantic, Pacific

True’s beaked whale

Mesoplodon mirus

Atlantic

White-beaked dolphin

Lagenorhynchus albirostris

Atlantic


Whale Taxonomy

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Mammalia

Order

Cetartiodactyla

Suborders

Mysticeti and Odontoceti