Finless Porpoise
Neophocaena phocaenoides


Other Names: Black Porpoise, Black Finless Porpoise, Jiangzhu

Habitat: Inshore and riverine

Status: Locally common

Population: Unknown

Threats: Habitat destruction, hunting/whaling, and entanglement in fishing nets

Group Size: 1-2, over 50 reported at good feeding areas

Fin Position: No fin

Newborns: 24-35 in (60-90 cm), 15 lbs. (7 kg)

Adults: 4-6 ft (1.2-1.9 m), 65-100 lbs. (30-45 kg)

Diet: Krill or other crustaceans and occasionally squid or octopus and fish

Teeth: 26-44 on both top and bottom rows


Description

Flukes:

- slightly pointed tips
- long, concave trailing edges
- distinct notch in middle
- flukes rarely visible above surface when diving

Flippers:

- long, pointed flippers with narrow base

Head:

- small mouth curves slightly upward
- slight depression behind blowhole
- unfused neck vertebrate allow good head motility
- pink eyes in about half the population
- chin may be light, or may have a dark "strap"

Other characteristics:

- ridge covered in circular, wart-like tubercles
- ridge along back from above flippers to beginning of tail stock
- pale blue-gray body, sometimes with pinkish tinge on back and sides
- underside paler than upper side and sides, especially between flippers


Behavior

- causes little disturbance when rising to surface, though tends to roll onto one side
- typically takes 3 to 4 breathes in quick succession, dives for about a minute, then resurfaces quite far away
- sometimes spyhops, lifting entire head and at least part of its body out of the water
- in captivity, can be trained to leap into the air, but rarely breaches in the wild
- calf grips onto ridge when riding on mother's back and usually comes out of the water when she surfaces to breathe


Distribution

- coastal waters and all major rivers of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific
- some experts suggest 3 distinct varieties: in the Yangtze River, China; in coastal waters around Japan and Korea; and in coastal and riverine waters in other parts of Asia
- recently discovered in Laos and probably occurs in northern Australia
- occurs further north in Japan to the northern tip of Honshu
- it is predominately an inshore species but occurs in salt water and fresh water
- seems to prefer murky and turbid conditions, rarely seen more than about 3 miles (5 km) from the coast
- can be found in warm rivers, lakes (if connected to rivers), mangroves, estuaries, deltas, and salt marshes
- some animals appear to migrate according to food availability, but movements are poorly known



TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

Return To Gulf of Mexico Species
Return To Cetaceans of the World

e-mail suggestions or questions to
tmmsn@sci.tamucc.edu

This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet