Burmeister's Porpoise
Phocoena spinipinnis

Other Names: Black Porpoise

Habitat: Inshore

Status: Locally common

Population: Unknown

Threats: Hunting/whaling and entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 2-3, as many as 70 recorded together off Peru

Fin Position: Far behind center

Newborns: c.18-20 in (45-50 cm), Unknown weight

Adults: 4 -6 ft (1.4-2 m), c.90-155 lbs. (40-70 kg)

Diet: Fish and occasionally squid or octopus and krill or other crustaceans

Teeth: 28-32 on top row, 34-38 on bottom row


Dorsal Fin:

- leading edge long and straight
- low-lying dorsal fin
- small tubercles in 2-4 rows along entire leading edge
- some may have pointed tip
- slightly convex trailing edge
- distinctive "cut" at base on some animals


- distinct notch in middle
- slightly pointed tips


- large flippers with broad base
- blunt tips


- slight indentation at blowhole
- upturned mouth
- lower jaw consistently contains more teeth than upper jaw

Other characteristics:

- deep gray or black coloration may appear brown in certain lights
- thickening below and above tail stock (more pronounced in older animals)
- lighter patch on underside


- surfaces with little disturbance of the water, but moves rather jerkily
- like other porpoises, it probably seldom (if ever) breaches
- a limited number of observations indicate that it is a very shy animal
- some records suggest that small groups scatter when frightened or approached by a boat, and regroup later
- this porpoise is believed to move very close to shore after dark


- distribution stretches from Tierra del Fuego (the southern-most tip of South America) as far north as northern Peru on the Pacific side an southern Brazil on the Atlantic side
- distribution may not be continuous, although there are not enough observations to be sure
- it is believed to be more common along the Pacific coast than the Atlantic, and may also occur around the Falkland Islands
- it seems to prefer cold, shallow waters and estuaries near the coast
- little is known about seasonal movements

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet