Classifications
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A Taxonomic Classification of Marine Mammals

UquqVocal1.jpg (93500 bytes)The following chart shows the scientific classifications of all known marine mammals down to their family groups.  This type of chart allows us to see how different marine mammals are related to each other.  

Most of these groups are made up entirely of animals that live in seas, oceans, rivers or lakes.  Some groups have members that include both marine and land (or terrestrial) species.  For example, sea otters are considered marine mammals but are in the same family as skunks and weasels who are strictly land animals.  Most bears are not classified as marine mammals, but  polar bears are.  They spend a great deal of their lives in the sea and are listed as a protected marine mammal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as are all of the animals on the following chart. 

Classification..... Scientific Name..... Common Name

bulletKingdom .....Animalia..... Animals
bulletPhylum..... Chordata.....Animals w/ notochords
bulletSubphylum......Vertebrata..... Vertebrates
bulletClass..... Mammalia..... Mammals

 

bulletOrder.....Cetacea.....Cetaceans
bulletSuborder..... Odontoceti..... Toothed Cetaceans
bulletFamily..... Physeteridae..... Sperm Whales
bulletFamily..... Ziphiidae..... Beaked Whales
bulletFamily..... Delphinidae..... Marine Dolphins
bulletFamily..... Platanistidae*..... Freshwater Dolphins
bulletFamily..... Phocoenidae..... Porpoises
bulletFamily..... Monodontidae..... Belugas & Narwhals
bulletSuborder..... Mysticeti..... Baleen Whales
bulletFamily..... Balaenopteridae..... Rorquals
bulletFamily..... Balaenidae..... Right Whales
bulletFamily..... Eschrichtiidae..... Gray Whales

 

bulletOrder..... Pinnipedia..... Pinnipeds
bulletSuborder..... None
bulletFamily..... Phocidae..... True or Earless Seals
bulletFamily..... Otariidae..... Sea Lions or Eared Seals
bulletFamily..... Odobenidae..... Walruses

 

bulletOrder..... Sirenia*..... Dugongs & Manatees
bulletSuborder..... None
bulletFamily..... Dugongidae*..... Dugongs
bulletFamily..... Trichechidae*..... Manatees

 

bulletOrder..... Carnivora*..... Carnivores
bulletSuborder..... None
bulletFamily..... Mustelidae*..... Sea Otters
bulletFamily..... Ursidae*..... Polar Bears

 

*These groups also include non—marine species.

 

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Revised: January 14, 2011 .