Phocoena spinipinnis - Porpoise spinipinne

Phocoena spinipinnis - Porpoise spinipinne

(Phocoena spinipinnis)

Note 1




























Phocoena spinipinnis

Common name

: Spinipinne porpoise


  • Body length: 1.40 - 1.80 m
  • Weight: 40 - 70 kg
  • Lifespan: not known
  • Sexual maturity: when they reach about 1.5 m in length


There Phocoena spinipinnis, known as spinipinne porpoise, is found only along the coasts of South America, starting from the southern part of Brazil, to continue along the coasts of Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

It is not certain that it is present continuously along all the aforementioned coasts, also considering the fact that we are dealing with a very different range of temperatures: in the southern part of Cape Horn and in Tierra del Fuego the water temperature varies from 3 ° C in June to about 9 ° C in the summer months; going up north there are more temperate waters up to the Gulf of San José in Argentina, where the water reaches temperatures of 19.5 ° C.

Usually it inhabits shallow waters, usually within 150 m of depth and are also found at the mouths of rivers. Along the coasts of Tierra del Fuego it has been seen that it is also found within the algae line.

It has been observed that, contrary to expectations, there is a greater population along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean rather than the Atlantic Ocean despite the latter having a much wider continental shelf. This fact is explained considering that in the Atlantic coast the Phocoena spinipinnis it has greater competition for food and therefore tends to be concentrated along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean.


There Phocoena spinipinnis compared to other species it is easily recognized as it has a particular dorsal fin: it is placed very distally, with respect to the head, and is particularly curved backwards and rich in tubercles along the anterior edge from which it takes its name spinipinnis "Spina" (from the Latin) and from which the Spanish name of this cetacean derives marsopa espinosa which means "thorny porpoise".

It is a very small porpoise, not exceeding 1.4 - 1.8 m in length (males are slightly larger than females).

The color is dark, black or gray particularly accentuated on the back which gradually becomes lighter as you move on the belly.

Like all porpoises it does not have the classic dolphin-beaked snout but remains short and with the head more similar to a cone.

A distinctive feature compared to the other species is to have a light gray halo around the eyes and have a dark colored stripe starting from the chin and stripes in the ventral part.


There Phocoena spinipinnis it is a very shy cetacean that immediately moves away when a boat tries to approach and perhaps in consideration of this fact, it is one of the least known and studied species.

It has been observed that they do not live in large groups, no more than eight individuals and are not particularly "noisy" in the sense that they do not perform acrobatic jumps out of the water, on the contrary they swim very discreetly and silently. They seem to tend to approach the coast after dark.

The maximum speed recorded was 4 km / h.


There Phocoena spinipinnis it feeds mainly on anchovies, hake, squid and shrimp.


The reproductive season is between June and September with a gestation period of about 10 months at the end of which small about 40 cm long are born.

Sexual maturity occurs when the young (males or females) reach a length of about 1.5 m.


The only known natural predator of the Phocoena spinipinnis is the orca.


There Phocoena spinipinnis is classified in the IUNC Red list (2009.1) among animals with insufficient data, DATA DEFICIENT (DD) for which therefore it is not possible to make any type of evaluation.

Although we do not have precise data on the population of this cetacean, it is certain that many specimens are killed every year to be used as bait for crab fishing in the southern part of Chile. Also in Peru this cetacean is widely fished with nets to be intended for human consumption. The number of catches along the coasts of Peru has been estimated at 450 individuals per year, a number that is starting to cause serious concern. Even incidental catches with fishing nets along all coasts, especially fixed gillnets, begin to arouse perplexity given the increasing reports.

There was only one study on the influence of pollution on the mortality rate on this cetacean which found that organochlorine levels were low in eight animals captured off the coast of northern Argentina, an almost foregone conclusion in line with the relatively low degree of pollution of those waters.

The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora, known simply as Washington Convention) which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but whose trade must be controlled in order to avoid exploitation incompatible with their survival.


The meat of the Phocoena spinipinnis it is widely used both for human consumption and to obtain fishing bait.


(1) Image taken from Gobierno de Chile - Subsecreteria de pesca

South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens)

Another of the marine mammals which stands out as the most representative animal of Peru is the South American sea lion. From the Atlantic coasts in Uruguay and Argentina, through the South Pacific coast of Chile to the Peruvian coast, the South American sea lions they inhabit coastal ecosystems in large colonies of about 15 individuals.

Its most distinctive feature is the large layer of brown and reddish hair that males have around their neck, giving them the appearance of a lion. Males also differ from females of the same species in the weight they reach, being about 300 kilograms in males and nearly half, about 140 kilograms, in females.

Comme tous les marsouins, également spinipinne est vulnérable aux prises accidentelles dans les filets de pêche. Ceux-ci sont communs dans Uruguay, Pérou et Chili. Le plus grand nombre annuel de ces prises, 2000 personnes, se produit au Pérou. Ils ont aussi délibérément harponné pour la viande ou à utiliser comme appât de requin.

Dans les années de El Nino plutôt stricte, l'écosystème courant de Humboldt Il est détruit. Anchois meurent ou quittent la region et il semble que beaucoup de marsouins et d'autres mammifères marins meurent en raison de la faim.

the UICN cet animal se classe comme un statut inconnu dans sa Liste rouge des espèces menacées. Les perspectives à long terme de cette espèce sont inconnus.

Porpoises are predators of fish, squid and crustaceans. Although they are capable of diving up to 200m, they generally hunt in shallow coastal waters. They are most commonly found in small groups of fewer than ten individuals. Rarely, some species form short-lived groupings of several hundred animals. Like all odontocetes, they are able to use echolocation to find prey and to coordinate groups. Porpoises are fast swimmers - the porpoise is believed to be one of the fastest cetaceans, with a speed of 55 km / h. Porpoises tend to be less acrobatic and more guarded than dolphins.

Incidental catches (bycatch) in fishing nets are their greatest threat. One of the most endangered cetacean species is the Gulf of California porpoise, which has a limited distribution to the Gulf of California, a densely industrialized area. In some countries, they are hunted for food or to use their meat as bait. Porpoises are rarely kept in zoos or dolphins, as they are unable to adapt well to life in captivity and are not as easy to train as dolphins.

Whales, dolphins and seals. Field guide to the marine mammals of the world

Author: Shirihai H., Jarrett B.

ISBN13: 9788866940180

Year of publication: 2014

Shipment Free for orders of at least € 49.00 or in case of promotion

Format 14.5x21.5 cm., 384 pages. Printed on paper made from plain, chlorine-free pulp, harvested from sustainably managed forests.

Some low resolution images from the book (click to enlarge).

Left: the sperm whales. Center: the humpback whales. Right: the killer whales.

Left: the pygmy mesoplodon. Center: bottlenose dolphins. Right: the sea lions.

Introduction 7
What is a marine mammal? 8
Major groups of marine mammals 8
Modern taxonomy of marine mammals 9
How to search for marine mammals 10
Natural history of marine mammals 12
Conservation 15
How to use this book 17
Illustrations 19
Maps 20

Species description 21

Sperm whale
Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus 21

Humpback whale
Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae 25

Whale gray
Gray whale Eschrichtius robustus 31

Right whales
North Atlantic Right Whale Eubalaena glacialis 36
North Pacific Right Whale Eubalaena japonica 36
Southern right whale Eubalaena australis 36
Greenland whale Balaena mysticetus 40

Caperea Caperea marginata 43
Tapered Body Whales 46
Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus 48
Fin whale Balaenoptera physalus 52
Northern whale Balaenoptera borealis 56
Bryde's fin whale Balaenoptera edeni 58
Omura whale Balaenoptera omurai 58
Northern Minke Whale or B. rostrata Balaenoptera acutorostrata 62
Minke whale - species / allspecies of Balaenoptera [acutorostrata] 64
Antarctic minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis 66

killer whale
Orca Orcinus orca 69

Large Globicephalinae - Pilot whales
Gray Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus 79
Pilot Whale Globicephala melas 82

Small Globicephalinae and Grampo
Feresa Feresa attenuated 87
Peponocephalus Peponocephala electra 89
Pseudorca Pseudorca crassidens 92
Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus 94

Beluga and Narwhal
Beluga Delphinapterus leucas 97
Narwhal Monodon monoceros 100

Zifio Ziphius cavirostris 107
Southern Berardio Berardius arnuxii 110
Boreal Berardio Berardius bairdii 112
Tasmaceto Tasmacetus shepherdi 115
Longman's Mesoplodon Indopacetus pacificus 116
Northern Hyperodon Hyperoodon ampullatus 119
Southern hyperodon Hyperoodon planifrons 122
Mesoplodont of Hector Mesoplodon hectori 124
Mesoplodon of True Mesoplodon mirus 126
Mesoplodon of Gervais Mesoplodon europaeus 127
Mesoplodon of Sowerby Mesoplodon bidens 129
Gray's Mesoplodon Mesoplodon grayi 131
Pygmy mesoplodon Mesoplodon peruvianus 133
Mesoplodon of Bowdoin Mesoplodon bowdoini 136
Travers Mesoplodon Mesoplodon traversii 137
Mesoplodon of Hubbs Mesoplodon carlhubbsi 137
Mesopolodon of Nishiwaki Mesoplodon ginkgodens 139
Mesoplodon of Stejneger Mesoplodon stejnegeri 140
Mesoplodon of Layard Mesoplodon layardii 142
Mesoplodon of Blainville Mesoplodon densirostris 144
Mesoplodon of Perrin Mesoplodon perrini 146

Cogia by de Blainville and Cogia by Owen
Cogia by de Blainville Kogia breviceps 148
Cogia by Owen Kogia sima 150

Bottlenose dolphins and similar simple dolphins
Common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus 155
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus 159
Indo-Pacific Susa Sousa chinensis 161
Atlantic Susa Sousa teuszii 161
Steno Steno bredanensis 165

Oceanic thin-rostrum dolphins

Common dolphin Delphinus delphis 171
Long-beaked common dolphin Delphinus capensis 174

Long-beaked dolphins 177
Long-beaked dolphin Stenella longirostris 177
Stenella climene Stenella clymene 184
Striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba 186
Stenella maculata pantropicale Stenella attenuata 189
Atlantic spotted dolphin Stenella frontalis 192

Oceanic short-rostrum dolphins
Lagenodelfino Lagenodelphis hosei 197
Lagenorinco rostrobianco Lagenorhynchus albirostris 199
Acute Lagenorinco Lagenorhynchus acutus 201
Oblique-toothed Lagenorinco Lagenorhynchus obliquidens 202
Southern Lagenorinco australis Lagenorhynchus australis 205
Lagenorinco from the cross Lagenorhynchus cruciger 207
Dark Lagenorhynchus Lagenorhynchus obscurus 209

Cephalorhynchus dolphins
Commerson's cephalic Cephalorhynchus commersonii 213
Cephalorinco eutropia Cephalorhynchus eutropia 216
Haviside's cephalic Cephalorhynchus heavisidii 218
Cefalorinco by Hector Cephalorhynchus hectori 220

Lissodelphis borealis Lissodelphis borealis 223
Southern Lissodelphins Lissodelphis peronii 225

River dolphins and Sotalia
Sotalia Sotalia fluviatilis 230
Pontoporia Pontoporia blainvillei 232
Inia Inia geoffrensis 234
Platanista Platanista [gangetica] gangetica 236
Platanista of the Indus Platanista [gangetica] minor 239
Lipote Lipotes vexillifer 240

Orcella australiana and Orcella asiatica
Australian Orcella Orcaella heinsohni 242
Orcella asiatica Orcaella brevirostris 244

Neofocena Neophocaena phocaenoides 248
Spectacled porpoise Phocoena dioptrica 250
Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 252
Gulf of California porpoise Phocoena sinus 254
Spinipin Porpoise Phocoena spinipinnis 255
Porpoid Phocoenoides dalli 257

Dugong Dugong dugon 262
Ritina of Steller Hydrodamalis gigas 264
Amazon manatees Trichechus inunguis 265
Caribbean manatee Trichechus manatus 266
African manatee Trichechus senegalensis 269

Fur seals of central and northern latitudes 271
Northern fur seal Callorhinus ursinus 273
Guadalupe Fur Seal Arctocephalus townsendi 275
South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis 277
Galápagos fur seal Arctocephalus galapagoensis 279
Fur seal Juan Fernández Arctocephalus philippii 281

Fur Seals of the Antarctic Sea 283
South African and Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus 285
New Zealand fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri 287
Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella 290
Subantarctic fur seal Arctocephalus tropicalis 292

Sea Lions 294
Californian and Galápagos sea lions Zalophus californianus 296
South American sea lion Otaria byronia 299
Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea 301
New Zealand sea lion Phocarctos hookeri 303
Northern sea lion Eumetopias jubatus 305

Northern Seals 309
Northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris 309
Hooded Seal Cystophora cristata 311
Gray seal Halichoerus grypus 313
Saddle seal Pagophilus groenlandicus 316
Foca fasciata Histriophoca fasciata 318
Bearded seal Erignathus barbatus 319
Ringed seal Phoca hispida 321
Spotted seal Phoca largha 323
Common seal Phoca vitulina 325

Caspian seal Phoca caspica 329
Baikal Seal Phoca sibirica 331
Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus 332
Hawaiian monk seal Monachus schauinslandi 334
Caribbean monk seal Monachus tropicalis 336

Sub-Antarctic and Antarctic Seals 337
Southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina 339
Leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx 341
Crab-eating seal Lobodon carcinophaga 343
Weddell seal Leptonychotes weddellii 345
Ross seal Ommatophoca rossii 348

Arctic animals 350
Walrus Odobenus rosmarus 350
Polar Bear Ursus maritimus 353

Otters 356
Sea otter Enhydra lutris 356
Sea otter Lutra feline 358

Sites selected for the observation of marine mammals 362
Europe 362
Eastern North America 363
Western North America 365
Latin America 366
Australia and New Zealand 367
Indian Ocean and Asia 368
Check-list: status and conservation 369
Selected Bibliography 378
Photographic references 379
Index 382

Video: Schweinswal