Mysticeti - Baleen whales

The order Cetacea comprises the sea mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins and porpoises, and is divided into two extant sub-orders: Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales).

The Mysticeti suborder is commonly known as baleen whales as the species that belong to this group lack teeth but instead have baleen - a flexible substance made of keratin which forms a series of vertical plates, hanged from the upper jaw of the animal, used to filter large amounts of tiny living things from the water at a time. Another feature of the Baleen whales is that they have two external blowholes while the toothed whales only have one.

The Mysticetes, although small in numbers, include most of the largest whales such as the right whales, the Grey whale and the rorquals.

In Madeira archipelago these are the baleen whales observed so far:

Family: BALAEINIDAE (Right whales)

Family: BALAENOPTERIDAE (Rorquals)

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