Wikipedia:WikiProject Cetaceans

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This WikiProject is about cetaceans - that's whales, dolphins and porpoises to you and me. The aim of the project is to write a good description of every known cetacean species out there - all 90 of them[1], one of which is possibly extinct.

Things to be done[edit]

  • Assessment
  • Collaboration — Collaborations were selected monthly from September 2006 until January 2007, with irregular activity thereafter until the last selection in April 2008, since which time it has been inactive.
  • Change capitalisation of common names to sentence case. See Capitalisation of common names below. (Discuss)


To join this WikiProject, edit this section and add * ~~~~ and any comments to the following list of members in alphabetical order by username.
Place {{User WPCETA}} on your user page to display the following userbox:

This user is a member of
WikiProject Cetaceans.

This template will add your user page to:


Featured and Good Content[edit]

Featured Articles (8)[edit]

Former Featured Articles (4)[edit]

Good Articles (29)[edit]

Featured Lists (1)[edit]

Article alerts[edit]

Categories for discussion

State of articles[edit]

 FA A GABCStartStub FLListCategoryDisambigDraftFilePortalProjectRedirectTemplateNA???Total

Scope of articles[edit]

Articles on almost every species have been started. Most species have their own article with the exception of mesoplodont whales (too little information known for separate articles) and humpback dolphins (the lack of consensus from the taxonomists makes difficult to know what species to choose). Better to do at the genus level to avoid passing judgment.

Manual of style[edit]

Bowhead whale[2]
Temporal range: 0.2–0 Ma
Early Pleistocene[3]
Size compared to an average human
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Balaenidae
Genus: Balaena
B. mysticetus
Binomial name
Balaena mysticetus
Bowhead whale range

Capitalisation of common names[edit]

Common names of cetaceans are written in sentence case. That is, the names are not capitalised except for the first word of a sentence and any proper names that are part of the common name. An example of the general use is bowhead whale. Examples of the inclusion of a proper name are North Pacific right whale (where "North Pacific" is a placename) and Bryde's whale (where Bryde was a person's name).

Prior to 15 February 2010 the common names were often written in title case, with every word capitalised. Most article titles have now been changed to sentence case per Talk:Bowhead whale#Requested move, but the text of some articles may still need to be changed. Discussion leading to the February 2010 policy change is archived at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cetaceans/Archive 4#Capitalisation.


Each species article should use a {{Taxobox}} (usage instructions) to list standard information about that species.


A good image of an individual of the species in question should go in the {{Taxobox}}, but other descriptive images in-lined at relevant parts of the article are great. A size-comparison diagram should accompany it (as the image2 argument).

The JPEG format is preferable for photographs and PNG or SVG for diagrams. For public domain resources try the American National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration, particularly the National Marine Fisheries Historic Image Collection.

Range maps[edit]

The basic template map is the world map without country borders. Others can be found at Wikipedia:Blank maps.

The blue colour shows where the species may be found and white is where it is absent.

  • The grey colour has R:205 G:195 B:204 (#cdc3cc).
  • The blue colour has R:0 G:0 B:255 (#0000ff)

Some maps give the range of multiple species and separate the two with different colours. There is no standard for this yet.

When editing a map, save it at full-quality so that no blurring occurs at the edge of the countries. Blurring makes further editing of the map more difficult because the "fill" function of many image editing programs doesn't work with the blurred edges.

What to include[edit]

Cetacean species articles can contain:

  • a short introduction on the species, such as whether it is baleen or toothed
  • physical characteristics such as their birth and adult sizes and weights for both sexes, colour, callosities, fin placement, size and shape, and how one may distinguish between that and other species
  • biological elements such as life expectancy, gestation period, lactation period, speed, what they eat and interaction with other species
  • population and distribution, changes thereof over time and conservation status
  • human relationship with the species such as whaling, display in aquariums and whale-watching
  • the discoverer/describer of the species, scientific names, taxonomy debates and English meaning of the scientific name

This list is neither exhaustive nor its items appropriate for every article. Some information is probably best described in an article outside a particular species e.g. baleen.


There are a huge number of books on the subject. The websites listed at cetacea may be useful for quick fact-verifying

Free pictures[edit]

The NOAA has some great cetacean photos on the web. It is a U.S. Federal Government department, so its photos are public domain. They're on many websites and can be tricky to find through searches. Here are some examples:


Markup Belongs... Displays as
{{Cetacea}} Bottom of article
{{Portal|Cetaceans}} "See also" section on cetacean-related articles.
{{WikiProject Cetaceans}} Top of article talk page
WikiProject iconCetaceans NA‑class (inactive)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Cetaceans, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.
NAThis article has been rated as NA-class on Wikipedia's content assessment scale.
{{User WPCETA}} User page
This user is a member of
WikiProject Cetaceans.
{{subst:WPCETA Welcome}} Talk page of interested Wikipedians

Hello WikiProject Cetaceans. Thank you for your contribution to articles under the Cetaceans WikiProject! This project exists to enable interested users to collaborate on articles related to cetaceans. Should you be interested, there are many tasks where you can do to contribute:

Here are some Cetaceans WikiProject tasks you can do.

We hope one of these will tempt you into considering joining this WikiProject. If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our project contributors, or inquire on the project's talk page. Again, Thanks!

{{Paleo-whale-stub}} Bottom of prehistoric stub article
{{Whale-stub}} Bottom of non-prehistoric stub article
{{The Cetacean Barnstar|put your message here ~~~~}} Add to another users talk page
The Cetacean Barnstar
put your message here ~~~~


Main tool page:
  • Reflinks - Edits bare references - adds title/dates etc. to bare references
  • Checklinks - Edit and repair external links
  • Dab solver - Quickly resolve ambiguous links.
  • Peer reviewer - Provides hints and suggestion to improving articles.


  1. ^ "The Society for Marine Mammalogy's Taxonomy Committee List of Species and subspecies". Society for Marine Mammalogy. October 2014. Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 8 Jan 2014.
  2. ^ Mead, J. G.; Brownell, R. L. Jr. (2005). "Order Cetacea". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 723–743. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ "Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus 1758 (bowhead whale)". Fossilworks. Archived from the original on 2020-06-11. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  4. ^ Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. (2012). Balaena mysticetus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T2467A17879018.en