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Range : The natural distribution of a species, including migratory pathways and seasonal haunts.

Recurved : Curved or bent backward.

Resident : Stays in one area all year round.

Rooster Tail : Forward-angled spray of water formed when certain small cetaceans surface at high speed.

Rorqual : A baleen whale of the genus Balaenoptera (some experts include the Humpback Whale in this category)

Rostrum : In cetaceans, a forward extension of the upper jaw. Adj. rostral.


Saddle or Saddle Patch : A blotch or patch of pigment that extends across the midline of the back and onto the sides.

Sargassum : A free-floating brown seaweed that occurs in warm marine environments.

School : A co-ordinated group of cetaceans (term is most often used when referring to dolphins).

Serrated : Saw-toothed or jagged.

Snout : The part of the head extending from the front margin of the eye to the anterior tip of the head.

Sonar : The system used by many cetaceans to echolocate (echolocation).

Sounding dive : A deep (and usually longer) dive after a series of shallow dives.

Species : A group of similiar animals, reproductively isolated from all other such groups and able to breed and produce viable offspring.

Spiracle : An uncommonly used name for the blowhole.

Spout : A visible cloud expelled by a cetacean during exhalation at the water surface; also called the blow.

Spyhopping : Raising the head vertically out of the water, then sinking below the water without a splash. Used to check an area for hazards.

Stranding : The act of a cetacean coming onto land, either alive or dead.

Striations : Narrow, parallel grooves or lines.

Stripe : A thin horizontal line or area of pigment.

Subspecies : A recognisable sub-population of a species.


Tail-breaching : The act of throwing the rear portion of the body out of the water amd slapping it sideways onto the surface.

Tail Stock : In cetaceans, the tapered rear part of the body, just in front of the flukes.

Temperate : Mid-latitute regions between the tropics and polar circles, with a mild, seasonally-changing climate; cold temperate regions are nearer the poles, warm temperate, near the equator.

Terete : Slightly tapering at both ends.

Terminal : Located at the tip of the snout; describing the position of the mouth.

Throat grooves : Grooves on the throat present in some whales.

Toothed whale : A suborder of whales, dolphins and porpoises with teeth, members of the Odontoceti suborder.

Transient : Always on the move rather than mostly in one area (term applies mostly to Orcas)

Transverse : Situated or lying across; crosswise.

Tropical : Pertaining to the low latitudes of the world between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Truncate : Having the edge vertical and straight.

Tubercles : Circular bumps along the flippers, dorsal fins or heads of some cetaceans.