The Black dolphin (scientific name: Cephalorhynchus eutropia), is more commonly known as the Chilean dolphin, is only found in freshwater estuaries, and coastal areas surrounding Chile. It is a marine mammal, a member of the family Delphinidae, part of the order of cetaceans. The species is so named for its black coloring on its fins, tail, and back. It is also known as the Chilean dolphin, Piebald dolphin, Southern dolphin, and White-bellied dolphin.
Because of their preference for shallow coastal waters, these dolphins are often threatened by local fisherman. This dolphin is frequently used in Chile as crab bait, as well as a food source for humans. The species population is decreasing because of this practice, and is now considered Near Threatened. Hunting restrictions have been established in Chile, however, the government has had difficulty enforcing this law in remote areas.
Resembling fellow Cephalorhynchus species, Chilean dolphins are generally described as small and chunky with lengths of about 1.65 meters for both males and females. These dolphins weigh approximately 57 kilograms, females may be slightly larger than males (slight sexual dimorphism). Chilean dolphins have a stout, torpedo-like shape and can have a girth of up to two-thirds of their length. The head is conical in shape and lacks a beak and melon. However, black dolphins have a large number of teeth: 24 to 31 on each side of each jaw.
- Brownell, R., G. Donovan. 1988. Biology of the Genus Cephalorhynchus. Reports of the International Whaling Commision, Special Issue 9: 197-279.
- Mead, James G., and Robert L. Brownell, Jr. / Wilson, Don E., and DeeAnn M. Reeder, eds. 2005. Order Cetacea. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 3rd ed., vol. 1. 723-743
- Perrin, W. (2010). Cephalorhynchus eutropia Gray, 1846. In: Perrin, W.F. World Cetacea Database. Accessed through: Perrin, W.F. World Cetacea Database
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