Sea Life

A Guide To The Different Types Of Whales

Whales among all sea creatures are the largest species, belonging to the order Cetacea. Whales are massive creatures that can range in length from 10 feet to 100 feet and are approximately 600 pounds to 200 tonnes heavy. Whales are warm-blooded animals that possess remarkable features which make them one of the most fascinating creatures of the ocean waters. Well, there are almost 90 species of whale living under the water in different localities, which differs from each other in many ways. Some of the species of whales have been discussed here in detail. Scroll down!

A Guide To The Different Types Of Whales

In general, the whales are grouped into two categories, depending upon their exceptional feature:

Toothed Whales

As they indicate, the tooth whales include those species which have teeth. These whales grab the prey, chew it with their sharp teeth, and swallow the crushed pieces such as: 

1:  Killer Whales

Killer whales are also named and well known as Orcas, they are the top predator of the oceanic world. The body of the killer whale is black having white spots on the belly, chin, and tail. The body of Orcas can range between 16 to 26 feet in length and is about 3 to 6 tonnes in weight. Interestingly, they are called the “wolves of the sea” as the top hunters always hunt in a pack – like a wolf.

Killer Whales

2:  Sperm Whale

The sperm whales are dark brown to greyish in color whit a white-colored mouth. They are approximately 41 to 60 feet in length and are about 35 to 63 tonnes. Interestingly, the brain of the Sperm whale weighs around 20 pounds which is about 7 times heavier than the human brain. Moreover, these species can adapt to different habitats depending on the season. The average life period is about 70 to 80 years.

Sperm Whale

3:  Beluga Whale

These whales are dark grey but have brownish patterns on them which fades as time passes. These species do not possess dorsal fins and inhabit the arctic as well as the sub-arctic regions. They are about 4.3 to 5.5 meters in length and weigh 1,600 kg. Expectedly, they have a life span of 5 to 12 years.

Beluga Whale

4:  Southern Bottlenose Whale

They are robust species that have stubby beaks which make them look different from the other species. They have small conical teeth which allow them to grab the prey in a moment. The length of these whales is 7 meters maximum and is about 7,350 kg in weight. They are common in the Antarctica region usually at the depth of 1000 meters.

Southern Bottlenose Whale

5:  Narwhal Whale

The Narwhal whales are called the Unicorn of the oceans because they have long tusk-like appendages in front of the head, about 10 feet or 3.1 meters long. On average, they are about 10 to 18 feet in length. Commonly, they are sighted in the open waters of Russia and the Greenland of Canada.

Narwhal Whale

Baleen Whales

These species of whales do not have teeth instead they have baleen plates, made up of a layer of tissues that covers the jaws. These whales instead of hunting, filter the prey from the flowing water and swallow it completely without chewing, such as Blue whales, Humpback whales.

1:  Humpback Whale

The Humpback whale is very prominent among all the species because of its distinctive shape of the head and exceptionally long pectoral fins. The species are highly migratory but spend quite a time near the shoreline. These whales are about 52 feet or 16 meters in length and weigh around 30 tonnes. The average life period is about 60 to 80 years.

Humpback Whale

2:  Blue Whale

Blue whales are considered one of the largest species of whale that can have a maximum size of 90 feet or 30 meters and are approximately 173 tonnes heavy. Blue whales gained human attention because of their beautiful royal blue color from the top and are pale from the underneath. Sadly, due to illegal hunting and ship strike, the population of the Blue whale is disappearing from the ocean waters, making them an endangered species. The average life period is about 75 to 90 years.

Blue Whale

3:  Fin Whale

The Fin whale is dark grey to brownish from the top and white from the underside. They have a v-shaped head and 2 meters long curved shaped dorsal fins which distinguish them from the other species.  Approximately, they are 85 feet or 26 meters in length and are about 176 tonnes or 80 tonnes heavy. However, they are considered Data Deficient by the IUCN. The average life period is about 75 to 90 years.

Fin Whale

4:  Gray Whale

The gray whale is common among the Northern Pacific waters, Alaska, the Bering Sea, China, and Baja California. The body has dark grey coloration which has white spots on the top. These whales are about 60 feet or 18 meters in length and are approximately 110 pounds or 50 tonnes in weight. They have an average life period of 70 to 80 years; however, some specimens can live even longer periods of 100 years.

Gray Whale

5:  Bowhead Whale

These whale species came into the limelight as they are the only member of the Baleen family that are inhabited to Arctic and Subarctic regions. They possess a strong enough head of a triangle shape, to break the sheet of ice. The body is dark greyish to blackish measuring a size of 70 feet or 20 meters and weighing about 221 pounds or 100 tonnes. They have an average life span of 260 years.

Bowhead Whale

Final Words

Whales are the apex predators of the oceans which maintain the ecosystem healthy. Approximately, there are about 90 species of whales live under the water, however, they are grouped under two categories – Baleen whales and Tooth whales. Interestingly, they are found in almost all the oceans of the world but the localities vary depending on the type of species.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.