Hector’s dolphins use echolocation to help locate prey in the shallow, turbid, coastal waters they inhabit. They are generalist feeders and primarily prey on small fish and squid. During spring and summer, many prey species come in shore to spawn. It has been suggested that in-shore larvae may be the main reason Hector’s dolphins remain closer to shore during this time of year. Populations along the east coast of South Island have more diverse prey assemblages than those on the west coast. Eight species make up 80% of their diet, while on the west coast only 4 species make up 80% of their diet.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore )
- Brager, S. 1998. Feeding associations between White-Fronted Terns and Hector’s Dolphins in New Zealand. The Condor, 100: 560-562.