Lipotes vexillifer

Other Names: Yangtze River Dolphin, Beiji, Pei C'hi, Whitefin Dolphin, Whiteflag Dolphin, Chinese River Dolphin

Habitat: Riverine

Status: Endangered

Population: c.150-200

Threats: Entanglement in fishing nets, hunting/whaling, habitat destruction, human disturbance, and pollution

Group Size: 3-4, more may gather at good feeding grounds

Fin Position: Slightly behind center

Newborns: c32-35 in (80-90 cm), 6-11 lbs. (2.5-4.8 kg)

Adults: 4 -8 ft (1.4-2.5 m), 220-355 lbs. (100-160 kg)

Diet: Fish

Teeth: 62-68 on top row, 64-72 on bottom row


Dorsal fin:

- blunt peak
- very broad base


- bluish gray upper sides, almost white undersides
- distinct notch in middle
- flukes rarely seen above surface


- broad, rounded flippers bluish gray above, white below


- tiny eyes set high on sides of head
- abrupt forehead
- white margin of upper jaw and white light jaw
- mouth line curves upward
- slightly upturned beak
- long, narrow beak (juvenile beak thicker and shorter)

Other characteristics:

- pale bluish gray upper side and sides
- grayish white or white undersides
- wavy boundary between blush and gray white


- blow difficult to see, but sounds like a high-pitched sneeze and can be heard at close range
- hard to find in choppy conditions
- during active periods, swims rapidly with much variation in direction and style (often on its back or side) and frequent, short dives
- at other times, swims slowly and smoothly (usually in one direction) with fewer, longer dives
- typically has several short breathing intervals followed by a longer dive
- frequently rests in deep-water eddies, often staying in one place for 5 to 6 hours


- found only in China, in the middle and lower reaches of the main Yangtze River
- from the Three Gorges to the mouth of the Yangtze River
- occurs along 1,055 miles (1,700 km) of the Yangtze River, China, though very rare above Zhicheng and below Nanjing
- most common from Luoshan to Xintankou, and from Anqing to Heishazhou
- found mainly where tributaries enter the river, especially immediately upstream or downstream of sandbanks and islets
- when feeding, may come closer to shore, and often hunts over shallow sandbanks
-rarely found in areas without sandbanks
- once occurred in lakes Dongting and Poyang during spring floods, but water levels are no longer high enough
- may migrate according to water levels
- semi-captive animals can been seen in nature reserves near Tongling and Shi-shou

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TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet