Hector's Dolphin

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This is a picture of a Hector's Dolphin jumping out of the water.
This is a picture of a Hector's Dolphin jumping out of the water.

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Basic Description:

These dolphins are only found off the coast of New Zealand; they are endemic to New Zealand. The Hector's Dolphins are the rarest dolphins in the world. The North Island Hector's Dolphin, also known as Maui's dolphin, is the absolute rarest. The females grow to be 4 to 4 and a half feet long. The males are just a little smaller than the females. These dolphins have rounded dorsal fins and do not have a bottle-shaped snout like normal dolphins. The colors of all Hector's Dolphins are grey, black, and white.

Bulk of Scientific Information:

The Scientific name for Hector's Dolphins is Cephalorhynchus hectori. There are two subspecies of these dolphins: South Island and North Island. There are only 8000 South Island Hector's Dolphins left in the world. They live around the South Island Coast, mainly on the West Coast and around Christchurch. There are 111 Maui's (North Island) Dolphins left in the world. These dolphins live off the coast of the North Island, between Kawhia and Muriwai. Dolphins are from the delphinidae family which has 32 species all around the world. Dolphins of any species use their echolocation to find food, but they also use it to communitcate with one another. The females can grow to be about 99 pounds and the males grow to be about 77 pounds. They feed on the bottom of the ocean which normally consists of flounder, red cod, mackerel, crabs, squid, etc.


The ocean in New Zealand where the dolphins live.
The ocean in New Zealand where the dolphins live.



Quick Facts:

  • Dolphins have belly buttons (mammals with umbilical cord to get oxygen and food from mothers)
  • Mammals: warm blooded, suckle milk, and breathe air
  • They use echolocation to find their food
  • When they are fimiliar with an area, they no longer use echolocation because the animals know where the food already exists
  • Threatened status: December 1999
  • Smallest sea-living dolphin
  • One of the rarest oceanic species in the world
  • Some dolphins help one another get out of a net if they get trapped
  • A group of dolphins is called a pod
  • If a dolphin in their pod dies, the others in that pod take care of its young

Hector's Dolphins

Other Links to Topic:

Hector's dolphins are becoming extinct due to the pollution released into the water as well as the fishing that takes place in New Zealand. By not buying fish from companies that use nets harmful to dolphins, we can reduce the extinction rate of these beautiful creatures.



This Hector's Dolphin is a victim of fishing. It got caught in this fishing net and could not get up for air. There are many ways these dolphins are becoming extinct; this is one of those ways.
This Hector's Dolphin is a victim of fishing. It got caught in this fishing net and could not get up for air. There are many ways these dolphins are becoming extinct; this is one of those ways.



This is a map of the locations of the Hector's dolphins (North Island and South Island) and where they are most abundant.
This is a map of the locations of the Hector's dolphins (North Island and South Island) and where they are most abundant.

This is a baby Hector's dolphin that was a victim of a boating accident. A boat run over him, slicing its back.
This is a baby Hector's dolphin that was a victim of a boating accident. A boat run over him, slicing its back.
Water Climate in New Zealand
Season
Months
High
Low
Spring
September, October, November
19°C (67F)
9°C (48F)
Summer
December, January, February
25°C (76F)
14°C (56F)
Autumn
March, April, May
21°C (70F)
11°C (52F)
Winter
June, July, August
16°C (61F)
7°C (45F)

One of the few predators of the Hector's dolphin.
One of the few predators of the Hector's dolphin.

Chart of the causes of death for Hector's dolphins.
Chart of the causes of death for Hector's dolphins.

MLA Citations