The females are slightly longer and heavier than males. They have a rounded dorsal fin with a convex trailing edge and undercut rear margin. They look very similar to Hector's dolphins, however they have larger skulls than Hector’s dolphin overall, and a longer, wider rostrum.
They likely have a social structure similar to Hector’s dolphins, where group members commonly change companions.
Northwest coast of New Zealand's North Island
Killer whales, sevengill and blue shark.
Do not migrate.
Social system/Group size
Usually seen in small groups that are segregated by sex.
They are highly protected and no threats occur. However, due to the few individuals and the low birthrate, it is not sure that the species can survive.
This species is one of the smallest cetaceans. They used to be counted as Hector's dolphins but since 2002 they have been classified as separate subspecies. Māui dolphin are thought to have been isolated from their more numerous relatives for 15,000 - 16,000 years. This was around the same time the North Island shoreline split from the South Island during the Pleistocene.