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Hector’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori)

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PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Cetacea
FAMILY: Delphinidae
GENUS: Cephalorhynchus
SPECIES: hectori

TOOTHED or TOOTHLESS (BALEEN): Toothed

FRESHWATER, SALTERWATER or BRACKISH: Saltwater

HABITAT: Coastal waters of New Zealand

LENGTH (maximum): 4-5 Ft

WEIGHT (maximum): 117-128 lbs

RELATIVE SPECIES: Chilean dolphin

NEIGHBORING SPECIES: Dusky dolphin, Short-beaked common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin.

PREDATORS: Humans, sharks

THREATS: Since 1970 the population has decreased by 50 percent due to gillnets. Some are also killed by ship strikes.

DIET: Small fish and squid.

MANNER OF FEEDING: Usually prey on fish near the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes follow fishing boats to catch injured fish.

BEHAVIOR: Groups of 2-8. Playful and acrobatic, blowing bubbles, playing with seaweed, surfing waves and following small boats. Side leaps are associated with keeping up with vessels, vertical leaps are associated with playing and social interactions. Sometimes they will land on their sides in order to make a large splash with a lot of noise.

REPRODUCTION: Gestation is 1 year. Calves are born from November to February. Calving interval is at least 2 years.

LIFE SPAN: 20 Years

COOL/GROSS/WEIRD:

  • Most studied dolphin of its genus.
  • Inspired dolphin watching tours in New Zealand, one of the best places in the world to observe dolphins.
This species is classified as ENDANGERED by the IUCN's Red List.
This species is classified as ENDANGERED by the IUCN’s Red List.

Status

ESA Proposed EndangeredMaui’s dolphin subspecies (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui)
ESA Proposed ThreatenedSouth Island Hector’s dolphin subspecies (C. hectori hectori)

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Cephalorhynchus
Species: hectori

SOURCES:

  • Knopf, Alfred A. Guide to Marine Mammals of the World.Random House. 2002
  • NOAA

-TSF-

 

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