Sunday 19 May
Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia)
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Chilean dolphin fact file
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Chilean dolphin description
The Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia) is a little known species with a relatively small distribution (1) (2). Small and stocky like the other members of the genus, it has a poorly defined beak, rounded flippers, and a comparatively large, rounded dorsal fin (2) (4) (5). Dorsally, it is essentially grey in colour (4) (5), with a lighter grey-cap over the melon (2). The belly and throat are mostly white and behind each flipper there is an oval white patch (2). A dark band across the throat, often shaped like a rhombus in the middle, links the flippers (2) (5).
- Also known as
- Black dolphin, white-bellied dolphin.
- Dauphin Du Chili.
- Delfín Chileno, Delfín Negro, Tunina De Vientre Blanco. Top
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society:
- The cultivation of marine or freshwater food fish or shellfish under controlled conditions.
- In the fishing industry, the part of the catch made up of non-target species.
- From the Greek for ‘head-foot’, a class of molluscs that occur only in marine habitats. All species have grasping tentacles, and either an internal or external shell. Includes nautiloids, cuttlefish, squids, octopuses, and extinct ammonites and belemnites.
- Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
- Dorsal fin
- In fish, the unpaired fin found on the back of the body.
- Waxy lens-shaped structure in the forehead, which focuses the sounds produced in the nasal passage.
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
Convention on Migratory Species (June, 2009)
- Jefferson, T.A., Webber, M.A. and Pitman, R.L. (2008) Marine mammals of the world: a comprehensive guide to their identification. Academic Press, San Diego, California.
- Martin, A.R. (1990) Whales and Dolphins. Salamander Books, London.
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Chilean dolphin biology
Owing to its apparent shyness and relative scarcity, little is known about the Chilean Dolphin (1) (4) (5). Small groups comprising two to fifteen dolphins are most common, but larger groups of up to 400 have been reported in the northern part of its range (1) (5). It is probably an opportunistic hunter, feeding mainly on crustaceans, cephalopods, and shallow water fishes such as sardines, anchovies and rock cod (1) (2) (5).
Nothing is known about the seasonal movements of this species, but most Chilean dolphins appear to remain resident in a small area (1) (2) (5). Similarly, very little is known about its reproductive biology, other than that young dolphins are more commonly sighted between October and April (4) (5).Top
Chilean dolphin range
As its name suggests, the Chilean Dolphin occurs along the coast of Chile from 30 degrees south to Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, where it is possibly also found in Argentinean waters (1).Top
Chilean dolphin habitatTop
Chilean dolphin statusTop
Chilean dolphin threats
For many years, the Chilean dolphin has been hunted for crab bait and allegedly also for food. With the number of mature individuals almost certainly numbering less than 10,000, hunting of this species for bait presents a considerable threat to its long-term survival. Despite the killing of dolphins being legally prohibited, law enforcement is difficult in remote areas, while an unknown, but probably substantial number are taken as bycatch in other fisheries (1) (2). An additional concern is the rapid expansion of salmon and shellfish farms, which exclude Chilean dolphins from important areas of habitat and restrict movement (1).Top
Chilean dolphin conservation
Given the paucity of information on the Chilean dolphin, the main priority is to conduct range-wide research so that an accurate assessment of its conservation status can be made. In particular, it is vital to obtain information on its population, the scale of direct and incidental mortality, and the impact of habitat degradation associated with aquaculture and other human activities (1).Top
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For further information on the conservation of dolphins:
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