The pie chart on the right shows the relative numbers of strandings for each species.
The key below uses average measurements for adult cetaceans - so be aware that juvenile and newborn animals will be smaller!
|The animal is more than 3 metres long:||Has gills.||See the basking sharks page.|
|Does not have gills.||See the whale page.|
|The animal is less than 3 metres long.||Go to step 2|
|Does not have a prominent beak.||Go to step 3|
|Has a prominent beak.||Go to step 4|
|Less than 2 metres long, a "blunt" face with no prominent beak, dark grey above, pale underneath and has numerous spade shaped teeth. Short, slightly rounded flippers.||Harbour porpoise|
|More than 2.5 metres long, a "blunt" face and rounded head with no prominent beak, no teeth in top jaw and only 4-14 in the lower jaw. Body has pale underside (variable) and darker grey above with numerous white scar marks. Long sickle-shaped flippers.||Risso's dolphin|
|Body is stocky, grey above and white below, with a blunt beak (about 8cm long) with melon crease above. Teeth are cone shaped and up to 1.5 cm diameter.||Bottlenose dolphin|
|Body has an hourglass pattern on each flank which is usually yellow between the middle of the flank and the head. Beak up to 15 cm long.||Common dolphin|
|Body has a pinkish line running from the eye to the genitals and a dark line from the eye to the dorsal fin.||Striped dolphin|
|Short, whitish beak, robust body, white, grey and black body pattern||White-beaked dolphin|
|Short beak, robust body. Similar to white-beaked dolphin, but has a white patch on both sides running into a yellowish streak on either side of the tail stock.||Atlantic white-sided dolphin|