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Shark vs. Dolphin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 27, 2023
Sharks are cartilaginous fish, while dolphins are marine mammals.

Key Differences

Sharks belong to the Chondrichthyes class, meaning they have skeletons made of cartilage. Dolphins, on the other hand, are mammals, classified under Cetacea, with skeletons made of bone.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
In terms of respiration, sharks breathe using gills. Dolphins, as mammals, have lungs and breathe air through a blowhole.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Reproduction in sharks can vary; some lay eggs, while others give live birth. Dolphins give live birth and nurse their young with milk.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Sharks are typically solitary hunters, relying on their acute senses to find prey. Dolphins are known for their social behavior, often living and hunting in groups.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
While some sharks are known for their aggressive behavior, dolphins are often regarded as friendly and intelligent, even interacting with humans.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Classification

Cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes)
Marine mammal (Cetacea)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Skeleton

Made of cartilage
Made of bone
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Respiration

Gills
Lungs, breathe through a blowhole
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Reproduction

Some lay eggs, others live birth
Live birth, nurse young
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Social Behavior

Mostly solitary
Highly social, live in groups
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
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Shark and Dolphin Definitions

Shark

Cartilaginous fish, predatory in nature.
The shark swiftly chased its prey.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

Dolphin

Known for sharp teeth and strong jaws.
The shark's teeth were intimidating.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Shark

Diverse species ranging in size and habitat.
The small reef shark was hiding among corals.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Dolphin

Cartilaginous fish, predatory in nature.
The shark swiftly chased its prey.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

Shark

Many have keen senses like electroreception.
The shark sensed the fish's movement.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Dolphin

Many have keen senses like electroreception.
The shark sensed the fish's movement.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Shark

Known for sharp teeth and strong jaws.
The shark's teeth were intimidating.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Dolphin

Diverse species ranging in size and habitat.
The small reef shark was hiding among corals.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Shark

Some species are dangerous to humans.
The great white shark is formidable.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Dolphin

Some species are dangerous to humans.
The great white shark is formidable.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Shark

Any of numerous cartilaginous fishes of the subclass Elasmobranchii that are chiefly carnivorous and marine. Sharks have a streamlined torpedolike body, five to seven gill openings on each side of the head, a large oil-filled liver, and tough skin covered with small toothlike scales.
Sumera Saeed
Sep 02, 2023

Dolphin

Any of various marine toothed whales of the family Delphinidae, having a beaklike snout, a curved dorsal fin, and a slender streamlined body.
Sumera Saeed
Sep 02, 2023

FAQs

Are dolphins smarter than sharks?

Dolphins are known for higher intelligence levels.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Can sharks and dolphins coexist?

Yes, but they generally have different behaviors.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 26, 2023

How do sharks and dolphins breathe?

Sharks use gills, dolphins use lungs.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Do sharks eat dolphins?

Occasionally, larger sharks may prey on dolphins.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What's the dolphin's natural habitat?

Mostly in shallow seas of the continental shelves.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Are sharks important for the ecosystem?

Yes, as top predators, they maintain balance.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Are sharks and dolphins related?

No, they're from different biological classes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Can dolphins live in freshwater?

Some species can, like the Amazon River dolphin.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Do dolphins sleep?

Yes, but they remain semi-conscious to breathe.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Can dolphins be trained?

Yes, they're known for trainability.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

How long do sharks live?

Lifespan varies by species, some over 30 years.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Are dolphins endangered?

Some species are, due to various threats.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

How do dolphins use echolocation?

They emit sounds and interpret the echoes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are all sharks dangerous to humans?

No, only a few species are considered dangerous.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Do sharks have good vision?

Yes, most have excellent vision.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

How do dolphins communicate?

Through vocalizations and body language.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Do dolphins have natural predators?

Sharks and orcas can be predators.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

What do sharks eat?

Their diet varies from fish to marine mammals.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

What's the largest shark?

The whale shark is the largest.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

How fast can sharks swim?

Depends on the species, some very fast.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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