Dall's Porpoise
Phocoenoides dalli

Other Names: Spray Porpoise, True's Porpoise, White-flanked Porpoise

Habitat: Inshore and offshore

Status: Locally common

Population: Unknown

Threats: Hunting/whaling and entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 10-20, hundreds may gather at good feeding grounds

Fin Position: Slightly forward of center

Newborns: 34-39 in (85 cm - 1 m), Unknown weight

Adults: 5 - 7 ft (1.7-2.2 m), 300-485 lbs. (135-220 kg)

Diet: Squid or octopus, krill or other crustaceans, and fish

Teeth: 38-58 on both top and bottom rows


Dorsal Fin:

- hooked tip
- prominent dorsal fin gray-white above and black below
- broad base


- trailing edges of upper sides fringed with white
- slight notch in middle
- flukes have a backward appearance


- small flippers close to head


- "lips" may be black or white
- narrow mouth, with gum teeth between normal teeth
- steeply sloping forehead

Other characteristics:

- jet black main body
- stocky body (female is less stocky)
- distinctive white patch on belly and sides
- white coloring begins some way behind flippers (Dalli-type)
- slightly longer; slimmer body (Truei-type)
- white coloring begins just ahead of flippers (Truei-type)


- almost hyperactive
- darts and zig-zags around at great speed, and may disappear suddenly
- swimming speeds can reach 35 mph (55 km/h)
- only porpoise that will rush to a boat to bow-ride, but soon loses interest in anything that travels at less than 12 mph (20 km/h)
- will also ride the stern waves of a boat
- rarely leaps out of the water
- does not porpoise like any other small cetaceans, but does produce a "rooster tail"


- both east and west sides of the northern North Pacific, and in the open sea
- commonly found close to land (usually near deep-water canyons)
- may routinely forage at depths of 1,640 ft (500 m) or more
- often associates with Pacific White-sided Dolphins (from 50 N southward) and Long-finned Pilot Whales (from 40 N southward)
- little is known about migrations, but seems to migrate north in summer and south in winter in the western Pacific; in the eastern Pacific, there is a possible inshore-offshore migration in some area
- some animals may summer as far north as the Bering Strait

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet