EXTERNAL MORPHOLOGY AND PIGMENTATION OF THE VAQUITA, PHOCOENA SINUS (CETACEA: MAMMALIA)

Authors

  • Robert L. Brownell Jr.,

    1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 70, San Simeon, California 93452
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  • Lloyd T. Findley,

    1. Escuela de ciencias Marítimas y Alimentarias, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios, Superiores de Monterrey—Campus Guaymas, Apartado Postal 484, Guaymas, Sonora, 85400 México.
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  • Omar Vidal,

    1. Escuela de ciencias Marítimas y Alimentarias, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios, Superiores de Monterrey—Campus Guaymas, Apartado Postal 484, Guaymas, Sonora, 85400 México.
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  • Alejandro Robles,

    1. Escuela de ciencias Marítimas y Alimentarias, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios, Superiores de Monterrey—Campus Guaymas, Apartado Postal 484, Guaymas, Sonora, 85400 México.
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  • N Silvia Manzanilla

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada NIG 2W1
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Abstract

The vaquita, Phocoena sinus, is a porpoise in the family Phocoenidae that lives only in the Gulf of California. The external appearance of P. sinus was unknown until 13 fresh specimens were recently examined. The most obvious morphological feature distinguishing P. sinus from its two congeners is the proportionately higher dorsal fin. The most striking features of the pigmentation pattern are the large black eye patches and the black upper and lower lip patches. In both areas, the pigmentation contrasts sharply with the surrounding light gray coloration. The total lengths of the specimens ranged from 70.3 cm (a neonate) to 143.5 cm (an adult female).

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