Burmeister's porpoise

Burmeister's porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis) is a species of porpoise endemic to the coast of South America. It was first described by Hermann Burmeister, for whom the species is named, in 1865. Locally it is known as marsopa espinosa (thorny porpoise) and chancho marino (sea pig).

They have a shallow indentation at their blowhole set just in front of the eyes. The shape and placement of the dorsal fin is unusual for a cetacean—it is triangular rather than curved and points backwards more than upwards. It is located about three quarters of the way along the back—further back than any other dolphin or porpoise. These features are sufficient to distinguish the porpoise from the similar-sized Chilean dolphin which is found in the porpoise's Pacific range.

Burmeister's porpoise
  • Size

    Burmeister's are about 150 cm long when fully mature and weigh 50–75 kg. The maximum recorded weight is that of a female at 105 kg.

  • Feeding

    The porpoise feeds on various pelagic fish such
    as anchovies, hake and mackerel.

  • Life History

    Most photographs of Burmeister's porpoises are taken of dead specimens and show the animal to be coloured black. However live individuals are typically a dark grey color. They turn black in just
    a few minutes after death.

  • Behavior

    Burmeister's porpoise is difficult to observe.
    It appears to be shy, shows little of its body when surfacing and will move quickly away from approaching boats. They are typically seen alone or in pairs with occasional larger groups. One report from Chile saw a group of 70 in number.