Burmeister porpoise

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Burmeister porpoise
Order : Whales (cetacea)
Subordination : Toothed whales (Odontoceti)
Superfamily : Dolphin-like (Delphinoidea)
Family : Porpoises (Phocoenidae)
Genre : Phocoena
Type : Burmeister porpoise
Scientific name
Phocoena spinipinnis
Burmeister , 1865

The Burmeister's porpoise ( Phocoena spinipinnis ) is a species of whale from the porpoise family (Phocoenidae) native to the coasts of South America . It bears its name after the person who first described it, Hermann Burmeister .


The Burmeister porpoise is dark gray to black in color, with lighter spots on the belly. Dead animals turn black within a short period of time and since many descriptions come from dead animals, the species was previously thought to be colored black. They grow up to 1.8 meters tall and weigh 50 to 75 kilograms. Noticeable is the forehead and bowler hat , which are moved forward. The flippers have a broad base, are elongated and pointed at the ends. The flat fin , which sits quite far back, descends almost straight from the back line . It is studded with tubercles on the front edge, the rear edge is slightly sickle-shaped. The fluke is notched and tapers at the ends.


Distribution area of ​​the Burmeister porpoise

The Burmeister porpoise inhabits the coastal waters of South America and is occasionally found in estuaries and rivers. Its distribution area extends from southern Brazil over Tierra del Fuego to the eastern Pacific in the height of Peru .

Way of life

There is not a lot of wildlife watching for this species of whale as it is very shy and moves quickly away from boats. They are mostly found alone or in small groups, but schools of up to 70 specimens can also be observed in rich fishing grounds. When surfacing, the animals keep most of their bodies under water, and they don't even jump. The dives are up to three minutes long. The Burmeister porpoise feeds on schooling fish and octopus .


The Burmeister porpoise often gets caught in fishing nets and suffocates in them. It is also hunted for its meat, which is consumed or used as bait. Peru has the highest catch quota , where 2000 animals are shot every year. However, the exact degree of endangerment of the species is unknown.


  • Gerhard Schulze: The porpoises. Family Phocoenidae. 2nd Edition. Westarp-Wissenschaften, Magdeburg 1996, ISBN 3-89432-379-5 ( Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei. Volume 583).

Web links

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