Friday, June 10, 2011

Hector's Dolphin

Cephalorhynchus hectori
The Hector's Dolphin is not only one of the smallest Ceteceans in the world, they are one of the rarest as well. These tiny ocean mammals (only 4-5 feet long!) are found exclusively off the coast of New Zealand, and are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. 

There are actually two subspecies of Hector's Dolphin, the north (sometimes called the Maui's) and the south. While the south subspecies is rare with only 8,000 individuals left, the north is close to extinction. It is estimated that only 111 Maui's Dolphins are still out there. They are listed as "Nationally Critical" by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Hector's Dolphin
Hector's Dolphin are so rare because they only live about twenty years and they breed very slowly. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 7 or 8, and only calve every 2 to 4 years. Their numbers have decreased due to fishing net entanglement and human encroachment, and it takes a great many years for them to repopulate.

Hector's Dolphin are gray with black and white side markings. They are easily distinguishable due to their small size, tapered faces, and short, round dorsal fins.

Like other dolphin species, the Hector's Dolphin is a carnivore that uses echolocation to find and capture food. They live in small groups of up to 8, and are extremely social with one another, using complex clicks to communicate.

IUCN Status :  Endangered
Location : New Zealand
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m), Weight up to 130lbs (60kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order: Cetacea
Suborder : Odontoceti -- Family : Delphinidae
Genus : Cephalorhynchus -- Species : C. hectori

1 comment:

  1. I always found dolphins like the quitest mammals. To bad that a part of the human kind uses them for making money, excepting those who take care of them.


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