Vaquita
Phocoena sinus


Other Names: Cochito, Gulf of California Porpoise

Habitat: Inshore

Status: Endangered

Population: 100-500

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

Group Size: 1-5, 40 have been recorded (maximum)

Fin Position: Center

Newborns: 24-28 in (60-70 cm), Unknown weight

Adults: 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m), c.65-120 lbs. (30-55 kg)

Diet: Fish, squid or octopus

Teeth: 34-42 on top row, 34-40 on bottom row


Description

Dorsal Fin:

- leading edge has small bumps (begin as whitish spots)
- convex leading edges
- proportionately taller than on other porpoises (variable shape)
Flukes:
- slightly pointed tips
- distinct notch in middle
- small flukes remain below surface when diving

Flippers:

- small, broad flippers located in paler body area

Head:

- darker stripe extends from chin to flipper (variable)
- dark coloring around mouth
- dark patch around each eye

Juvenile:

- pattering similar to adult, but darker
- leading edge of dorsal fin has whitish spots
- body shape similar to adult's

Other characteristics:

- medium to dark gray upper side
- underside of tail stock darker than belly
- faint double V shape pointing toward tail
- grayish white underside


Behavior

- very few records in the wild
- appears to swim and feed in a leisurely manner, but it is elusive and avoids boats of any kind
- it rises to breathe with a slow, forward-rolling movement that barely disturbs the surface of the water and then disappears quickly, often for a long time
- it has an indistinct blow, but makes a loud, sharp, puffing sound reminiscent of that of the Harbor Porpoise
- breaching has never been observed


Distribution

- most limited distribution of any marine cetaceans, occurring only in the extreme northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), western Mexico
- most commonly found around the Colorado River delta
- may be slight seasonal movements north (in winter) and south (in summer), but there is little supporting data
- lives in shallow, murky lagoons along the shoreline and is rarely seen in water much deeper than 95 ft (30 m)
- it can survive in lagoons so shallow that its back protrudes above the surface



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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet