Vaquita – World’s Rarest Marine Mammal


Vaquita is the world’s rarest marine mammal and it is feared it will become extinct soon. It belongs to the order Cetacea. These small porpoises can be found only in the northern parts of the Gulf of California, in Mexico. On an average, they can reach 4.6 to 5 feet in length and up to 120 pounds in weight.

Females are slightly larger than their male counterparts. They have unique facial markings of a black ring around each eye and black curved lips. They are dark gray on their dorsal surface with pale gray sides and a white belly.


Quick Facts: –

  • Vaquita fishes are carnivorous on feeding choices. Their diet mainly consists of different types of fish, squids and crustaceans.
  • They generally live in groups composed of up to 3 members and rarely seen in larger groups.
  • They are very shy creatures so they never swim close to the surface and they avoid contact with boats and humans.
  • Their mating season takes place in April and May. Their gestation period lasts 10 to 11 months and ends with one baby.
  • Their average lifespan ranges from 18 to 21 years in the wild.
  • Interbreeding is one of the major problems of these creatures. They mate with their close relatives which causes congenital malformations.
  • Their scientific name is Phocoena sinus which means ‘porpoise of the gulf’.
  • Vaquitas were first identified in 1958 based on skulls and were first observed in 1985.
  • While looking for prey, they cannot rely on their vision so they use echolocation to locate the prey.