Species

We are very fortunate in Ireland to have at least 26 cetacean species present from the diminutive harbour porpoise all the way up to the largest animal that ever lived, the blue whale.

Some species are migratory and follow food here like humpback and fin whales off the southwest and south coast while others are resident year-round in special places like the Shannon Estuary where at least 145 bottlenose dolphins live.

A myriad of marine habitats occur in our waters from sheltered bays to the continental shelf and complex canyon systems affording each of our 26 specialised species a place to live, feed and breed which makes Irish waters one of the most important places in Europe for cetaceans.

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    Atlantic White Sided Dolphin

    Irish name: An deilf bhánchliathánach Atlantach

    Latin name: Lagenorhynchus acutus

    Size: 2.7 m

    Diet: Whiting, blue whiting & squid

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    Beluga Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór bán

    Latin name: Delphinapterus leucas

    Size: 3.5 – 5.5 m

    Diet: Arctic cod and invertebrates

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    Blainville’s Beaked Whale

    Irish name: Míol mór socach Blainville

    Latin name: Mesoplodon densirostris

    Size: 4m

    Diet: Squid and deep-water squid

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    Blue Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór gorm.

    Latin name: Balaenoptera musculus

    Size: 21 – 28 m

    Diet: Krill

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    Bottlenose Dolphin

    Irish name: An Deilf bholgshrónach

    Latin name: Tursiops truncatus

    Size: 2.5 – 3.8 m

    Diet: Salmon, blue whiting, whiting, pollock

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    Bowhead Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór ceann bogha

    Latin name: Balaena mysticetus

    Size: 19 m

    Diet: Euphausiids, amphipods and copepods

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    Common Dolphin

    Irish name: An Deilf choiteann

    Latin name: Delphinus delphis

    Size: 1.5 – 2.7 m

    Diet: Horse mackerel, sauries, herring, spotted lanternfish and squid

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    Cuvier’s Beaked Whale

    Irish name: Míol mor socach Cuvier

    Latin name: Ziphius cavirostris

    Size: 5.5 - 7m

    Diet: Squid, crustaceans and deep-water fish

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    False Killer Whale

    Irish name: An Chráin dhubh bhréige

    Latin name: Pseudorca crassidens

    Size: 5 – 6 m

    Diet: Squid and large predatory fish such as tuna

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    Fin Whale

    Irish name: An Droimeiteach

    Latin name: Balaenoptera physalus

    Size: 21 – 22.5m

    Diet: Krill, sprat and herring

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    Gervais Beaked Whale

    Irish name: Míol mór socach an tSrutha

    Latin name: Mesoplodon europaeus

    Size: 4.6 – 5.2m

    Diet: Squid and deep-water fish

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    Harbour Porpoise

    Irish name: An Mhuc mhara

    Latin name: Phocoena phocoena

    Size: 1.45 – 1.5m

    Diet: Herring, sprat, poor cod and whiting

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    Humpback Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór dronnach

    Latin name: Megaptera novaeangliae

    Size: 14 – 17m

    Diet: Sprat, herring and krill

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    Killer Whale

    Irish name: An Chráin dhubh

    Latin name: Orcinus orca

    Size: Males 9 m, females 7.9 m

    Diet: Mackerel, herring, salmon, ocean sunfish, seals and other marine mammals

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    Long-finned Pilot Whale

    Irish name: An Píolótach fadeiteach

    Latin name: Globicephala melas

    Size: Males 6.7 m, females 5.7 m

    Diet: Mackerel, dogfish, herring, cod and squid

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    Minke Whale

    Irish name: An Droimeiteach beag

    Latin name: Balaenoptera acutorostrata

    Size: 8.5 – 10m

    Diet: Sprat, sand eel and herring

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    North Atlantic Right Whale

    Irish name: Ceartmhíol mór an tuaiscirt

    Size: 16m

    Diet: Copepods

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    Northern Bottlenose Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór bolgshrónach

    Latin name: Hyperoodon ampullatus

    Size: 6 – 10 m

    Diet: Squid, herring and benthic invertebrates

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    Pygmy Sperm Whale

    Irish name: An Chaisealóid bheag

    Latin name: Kogia breviceps

    Size: 3 – 4.3 m

    Diet: Squid

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    Risso’s Dolphin

    Irish name: An deilf liath

    Latin name: Grampus griseus

    Size: 3.2 m

    Diet: Squid, octopus and cuttlefish

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    Sei Whale

    Irish name: Droimeiteach na Saíán

    Latin name: Balaenoptera borealis

    Size: 15 – 20 m

    Diet: Krill and copepods

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    Sowerby’s Beaked Whale

    Irish name: Míol mór socach Sowerby

    Latin name: Mesoplodon bidens

    Size: 5.1 – 5.5 m

    Diet: Squid and deep sea fish

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    Sperm Whale

    Irish name: An Chaisealóid

    Latin name: Physeter macrocephalus

    Size: 11 – 16 m

    Diet: Squid, mesopelagic and demersal fish

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    Striped Dolphin

    Irish name: An deilf stríocach

    Latin name: Stenella coeruleoalba

    Size: 2.2 m

    Diet: Poor cod, whiting, sprat and squid

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    True’s Beaked Whale

    Irish name: An Míol mór socach breá

    Latin name: Mesoplodon mirus

    Size: 5.4 m

    Diet: Squid, some invertebrates and deep water fish

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    White-beaked Dolphin

    Irish name: An Deilf shocbhán

    Latin name: Lagenorhynchus albirostris

    Size: 2.4 – 3.1 m

    Diet: Whiting, hake and poor cod

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