Discovered by the French naturalist Philibert Commerson who gave it his name, Commerson’s dolphin or Cephalorhynchus commersonii also called the panda dolphin is the smallest cetacean of the Delphinidae species.
A panda dolphin?
With its head that has no beak, its fins and tail of a beautiful black, and the rest of its body entirely white, it reminds us the orca, but its small size and its squat body makes it look a little more like a porpoise. It can measure up to 150 cm and weigh between 35 and 85 kg. Viviparous, it can reproduce from 6 years old and mates in spring or summer. Gestation lasts 11 months, and the Commerson’s dolphin gives birth to only one baby. This occurs only in deep water, so the baby can breathe quickly on the surface of the water.
Where does the Commerson’s dolphin live?
There are 2 subcategories that live 8000 km away from one another:
- – The Cephalorhynchus commersonii commersonii, found in the extreme south part of America, Patagonia and Falkland Islands, feeds on coastal and pelagic fish which evolve at sea but also squid.
- – The Cephalorhynchus commersonii kerguelenensis, which lives in the south part of the Indian Ocean around Kerguelen Islands, eats crustaceans.
The behavior of this graceful panda dolphin, which lives in small groups of 3-4 individuals, is identical to other species behaviour, he loves swimming with dolphins, doing jumps while following boats and spins out of the water. Formerly hunted to be used as bait in fishing king crab, it is sometimes captured to live in captivity, but today its capture is prohibited! It is also a victim of net fishing, trawlers and pleasure boats. For now, it is not threatened. But we have to remain vigilant, so this charming little dolphin can continue to amaze us!