Maui Dolphin Facts
- Above all, this remarkably precious creature, the Maui Dolphin, ranks as both the rarest and smallest of all known subspecies of dolphin.
- However, both it and a related species share an extremely restricted and specific habitat, leaving them quite vulnerable.
- As a result, officials currently estimate the entire population of this marvelous species to number fewer than 50 individuals.
- Given both these very unfortunate facts, the IUCN , therefore, presently lists this variety of dolphin as Critically Endangered.
- In addition to the dangers of climate change, the wonderful Maui Dolphin also faces a serious threat from local trawling.
Maui Dolphin Physical Description
Like many related species, the quite amazing Maui Dophin generally displays a somewhat moderate degree of sexual dimorphism.
Therefore, females grow to a slightly larger size than males, averaging 5.6 ft (1.7 m) in length, and about 110 lb (50 kg) in weight.
Although short, the body of this precious cetacean develops a quite stocky shape, and the snout displays a gently sloping structure.
Its colorful blend of white, black, and gray markings also gives it a distinctive appearance. However, it is the round dorsal fin that most sets it apart.
So, though small for a dolphin, it remains an impressive creature.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Delphinidae
- Genus: Cephalorhynchus
- Species: C. hectori
- Subspecies: C. h. maui
Maui Dolphin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
To clarify, the only known habitat of the magnificent Maui Dophin consists of the waters off the west coast of North Island, New Zealand.
This wonderful mammal also tends to spend most of its time in waters whose depth rarely exceeds 66 ft (20 m).
Its diet also appears similar to other small cetaceans, usually consisting of small squid, various fish, and random small crustaceans.
Mature females of this species typically bear one calf every 2-4 years, however, beyond that experts know little of this aspect of its biology.
Most importantly, in 2014, the government opened up part of a local sanctuary to oil-drilling, which includes the majority of its endemic habitat.