T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Dolphin (Māui's) Cephalorhynchus hectori maui

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Cephalorhynchus
Species: C. hectori
Subspecies: C. h. maui
Trinomial name: Cephalorhynchus hectori maui
Common name: Māui's dolphin, popoto

Māui's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is the world's rarest and smallest known subspecies of dolphin. It can only be found in isolated pockets on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. 
They are a subspecies of Hector's dolphin and both species look different to other New Zealand dolphins as they have a round black dorsal fin. Māui and Hector’s dolphins look identical, although they are physically and genetically different. 
Māui's dolphins are generally found close to shore in pods of several dolphins. They are generally seen in water shallower than 20m but they may also range further offshore. 
This dolphin is threatened by set-netting and trawling. In 2017 it was estimated that approximately 63 individuals over one year of age remained. The Māui dolphins are particularly vulnerable to decline as they have a short lifespan, up to 20 years, and they are slow to reproduce. Females have their first calf between 7 – 9 years of age. They produce just one calf every 2 - 4 years, making a population increase of2% a year. A population of approximately 55 can only increase by 1 individual per year. 

Māui's dolphins are identified by a solidly built body with a gently sloping, short snout and a unique rounded dorsal fin. Adults measure between 1.2 - 1.7 m and weigh up to 50 kg. The dolphin’s sides and back are a light grey with white "flames" reaching up along the sides of its body. The underside is whitish, while the face, flippers, the dorsal fin and tail are all black. There is a crescent-shaped black mark between eyes and blowhole.


Distribution map.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/