Cornforth Images

Dall's Porpoise

Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)is a species of porpoise with a unique body shape that makes it easily distinguishable from other cetacean species. The animal has a very thick body and a small head. The coloration is rather like that of an orca Ñ the main body of the porpoise is very dark grey to black with demarcated white patches on the flank. The dorsal fin is set just back from the middle of the back and sits up erect, with a light grey “frosting” at the upper part of the dorsal fin and fluke. The adult fluke curves back towards the body of the animal, which is another distinguishing feature. Dall’s Porpoises are hugely active creatures. They will often zigzag around at great speed on or just below the surface of the water creating a spray called a “rooster tail”. The fastest of all small cetaceans, Dall’s porpoises can swim at up to 55 km/h. They are found throughout the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

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