Latin Name: Phocoenoides dalli
How often and when do we see them?
This type of Cetacean can be seen throughout the year in the local waters around Vancouver Island. Increased sightings tend to occur during the winter period when these marine mammals frequently interact playfully with vessels by bow riding.
Size & Description
The dall's porpoise is a short, stocky and very muscular porpoise, growing to just over 7 ft (2.2m) in length and weighing an average of 270 pounds (123kg) and up to a maximum of 350 pounds (160kg).
Their black and white markings are very distinct and they can commonly be confused as baby killer whales.
They tend to travel in large groups or pods of about 10-20 porpoises and can be identified by the distinct rooster-tail they leave when they surface to breathe at high speeds.
Diet & Feeding
Their main prey includes schools of small fish, such as herring, anchovies and mackerels, as well as cephalopods, such as squid.
Dall's porpoises have the same great biological sonar as the rest of the toothed-Cetaceans - Echolocation to locate and hunt for food.
Fast - These marine mammals are the fastest Cetacean in BC! They have been clocked travelling up to 55km/hr.
Hybridization – Dall’s porpoises have been known to breed with another local porpoise species, the harbour porpoise, which is known as hybridization. The offspring have behavioural tendencies very similar to the Dall’s porpoise. However, they do tend to lack the white patches, which give them the more physical appearance of the Harbour porpoise.
Threats & Conservation
Currently, the population trend is unknown according to the IUCN red list and the status level is at least concern. However, there is some level of concern for the future populations that inhabit the coastal waters of Japan, as thousands have been reported to be caught annually in the gillnets as a part of their whaling operations.