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Vaquita


Scientific Name:
Phocen sinus
Length:
1.5 m (4.9 ft)
Weight:
45 - 50 kg (100 - 110 lbs)
Status:
data deficient
Prey:
Wide range of demersal and benthic fish, squids and crustaceans

Physical characteristics

Has a stocky body with even, dark grey color on the back and a whitish belly. Lighter gray marks are on the sides. Black markings are found around the eyes, the lips and as a stripe from chin to flipper.

Behavioral characterization

They have a strong aversion to boats. They rise to breath with a slow, forward rolling movement that does not disturb the sea.

Distribution

Shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico

Population size

60 - 100

Predators

Large sharks and killer whales are possible predators.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Do not migrate.

Social system/Group size

Usually in pairs.

Major threats

The biggest threat is the entanglement in fishing gear, but chemicals coming in through the Colorado River are also known to cause a loss in food supply and a decrease in health.

Research efforts

N/A

Fun fact

Although geographically closer to the harbor porpoise off the coast of central California some 1,500miles/2,500km away, the vaquita is more closely related to a Southern Hemisphere species of porpoise. It’s closest cousin, the Burmeister’s porpoise occurs some 3,000 miles/5,000km away in Peru, and further south.