What is Vaquita?


11:32 AM

1 min read
What is Vaquita? Blog Image


The world's most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita, is teetering on the edge of extinction.

About Vaquita:

  • The vaquita is a shy member and the smallest of the porpoise family.
  • Scientific Name: Phocoena sinus
  • Vaquitas are the most endangered of the world’s marine mammals. Less than 20 vaquitas remain in the wild.
  • Distribution:
    • Vaquitas have the smallest range of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise.
    • They only live in the northern part of the Gulf of California, an area that is rich in fish and shrimp. 
    • They are most commonly sighted in shallow waters up to 50 metres deep.
  • Features:
    • Vaquitas are the smallest cetaceans—the group that includes dolphins, porpoises, and whales—at 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) long and 65 to 120 pounds (29.5 to 54.4 kg).
    • Although they do visually resemble dolphins, their closest relatives, vaquitas, have chunkier bodies and rounded heads with no snouts.
    • Vaquitas have no beak and are mostly dark gray with lighter gray undersides and black patches on their face.
    • Their dorsal fins are unique in that they are taller and wider than most other porpoises.
    • A dark ring around the eyes is another striking feature.
    • Known for their elusive nature, vaquitas tend to shy away from boats and human activity.
    • Vaquitas communicate using echolocation (or sonar) by emitting high-frequency clicks.
  • The decrease in the vaquita population is also related to the totoaba, a large fish that also only lives in the Gulf of California.
    • Because totoaba and vaquita are similar in size,gillnets illegally set for totoaba are the deadliest for vaquitas.
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Q1: What are cetaceans?

Cetaceans are a group of marine mammals that include whales, dolphins, and porpoises. They are well-adapted to life in aquatic environments and have a variety of unique features that enable them to thrive in the ocean.

Source: Vaquita On The Brink: Population Plummets In Mexico's Gulf