Finless Porpoise

Finless Porpoise

Scientific Name
Neophocoena phocoenides




This porpoise has a somewhat elongated and more or less stocky body. The head is square, with a large melon, but without a snout. There is a slight depression behind the blowhole that delineates the head and body. There are 13 - 22 small, spade-shaped teeth on each side of both jaws.

This porpoise differentiates itself from others by its lack of a dorsal fin; instead, it has a sort of crest in its place that is covered with small tubercles or a corneated papilla. The flippers are long and have a narrow base. The flukes are long and thin, and the median notch is pronounced.

It measures 1.40 - 1.80 metres, and weighs from 30 - 45 kg. Newborn measures 55 - 85 cm and weighs 7 kg.

The eyes are often pink. This colouration deepens with age.

Its general colouring is a pale grey, often with a bluish tint on the back and sides; the lips, throat, and area between the flippers and the anal region tend to be much lighter. The Yangtze River population is darker than the sea variety, with a uniformly grey body and no white areas.

Small octopus, small cuttlefish, and shrimp, as well as small fish such as sand eels. In their natural habitat, these animals consume more than 2 metric tons of food per year.

It is mainly an inshore species, but occurs in salt water and fresh water.

Calf grips onto ridge when riding on mother's back and usually comes out of the water when she surfaces to breathe. Causes little disturbance when rising to surface, though tends to roll onto one side. Swims in small groups of 2 to 6.

Distribution : The Finless Porpoise is a coastal and fluvial species, found off Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Japan, as well as South Africa and New Zealand. The porpoise found in the Yangtze are endemic to this river. Appears to prefer murky or turbid conditions and seldom occurs more than about 5 km from the coast.