Hector's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori), is one of the rarest and smallest dolphins of the world. These species look like a torpedo and lack a beak. They have large flukes and rounded dorsal fin, which has convex trailing edge. These dolphins can move very quickly in the water because they slope down their nose, which helps them to acquire speed. These dolphins can grow up to a size of about (119 to 145) cm. The males and females of these species are normally similar but the females seem to be quite longer than the males. They are of grey, white, black and brown and have white and black markings. Their belly is white and the body consists of any of the other mentioned color. Males of these species have an oval dark grey patch, whereas the female has either a finger-like grey mark along the side, or they remain completely off-white. The new-born calves also look similar to the adults but they have pale lines on the darker areas. Also, a yellowish tint can be seen underside.
Habitat and Behavior
These dolphins like to live in the muddy as well as shallow water. They are inhabitants of coastal waters and shallow bays. These species like to live in the water of temperature of about (6.3 to 22) degree Celsius. They are found along the shallow water of the New Zealand Coast. The shore of New Zealand is the only place where you can find these species. These sea animals like to live in shallow water and they do not enter in deep water. Less than 4000 of these species are remaining at present. They are social creatures and are often found in groups. These creatures have small groups and they are not seen alone. These species are very playful and curious by nature.
These species feed towards the bottom and their favorite food consists of sea crabs, flounder, squid, cod and fish. They are night hunters and they use their sonar vibrations to catch or track the prey. Apart from fish, they sometimes also feed on crustaceans.
Breeding / Reproduction
The mating season of these species is late spring. They get matured at the age of about 8 years. The gestation period in these species is about one year. The mother remains for the newly born calves for about 3 years. The young ones feed on their mother's milk for about one year, then after one year the mother teaches them to hunt. The birth rate is quite low in these species and they do not mate if they do not have sufficient food or their natural environment. These species have a life span of about 18 years.
Hector's dolphins have been in the endangered list since 1999. The killing or intentional harming to these species has been illegal. These species are decreasing due to their habitat loss, pollution and injuries from the boat. Many of them die because of eating plastic bags. Therefore, one needs to take care of this serious problem.