Cetacean Species and Taxonomy

The number of recognized cetacean species and subspecies is continually being revised and re-examined on the basis of new scientific data.


The Society for Marine Mammalogy’s (SMM)  Committee on Taxonomy, chaired by Patty Rosel,  produces the official list of marine mammal species and subspecies. The IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group follows the SMM list including when identifying taxonomic units to be assessed for the Red List.  The SMM list of marine mammal species is revised at least annually to reflect the continuing flux in marine mammal taxonomy.

Indus River dolphin, Platanista gangetica minor, skulls collected by Georgio Pilleri and stored in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History, Germany. Photo: Gill Braulik