Hector's Dolphin

Evolution Mini-Research Project

The dolphin that plays with seaweed and blows bubbles.

Cephalorhynchus Hectori

Sir James Hector

These dolphins have gotten their name from Sir James Hector in 1869. Hector was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 16th, 1830. He had graduated in medicine from the University of Edinburgh. He died on November 6th, 1907.


Hector's Dolphin is the smallest and rarest kind of dolphin. The largest they will get is 1.2-1.4 meters or 4 feet 8 inches. They only get up to 50 kilograms or 110 pounds.


Hector's Dolphin's body is small and solidly built with a gently sloping snout. They have a very unique dorsal fin. It is rounded like Mickey Mouse's ear.

Their sides and back are light grew with white "flames" the side of their bodies. Their stomachs are whitish, but their face, flippers, dorsal fin, and tail are black. They also have a crescent shaped black mark between their eyes and blowhole.


These dolphins live in both of the north and south New Zealand Islands' shores. They live within 5 nautical miles of the shore and 15 nautical miles in the winter. The current population is distributed in the west coast of the north island, and the west, east, and south coasts of the south island. The population used to be more abundant and widespread. There are about 7,400 left in the south island.

Looked 100 years ago

They have not changed very much in the past few years. They have gotten smaller. As well as gotten smaller, they have become endangered.


They have to be smaller to swim faster. They also need to have a blowhole to breathe. The dolphins have excellent eyesight under and over the water to catch prey. Their rounded dorsal fin helps them with steering, and stopping. They also send off high frequency clicks to find food.

Their Struggle for Existance

They do struggle for existence because of people out on the ocean fishing and their fishing nets. Sometimes they don't use their high frequency clicks so they don't see the nets and get stuck in them. They have small lungs, their lungs are as big as human lungs, so they can't hold their breath for so long.

Natural vs. Artifical

Human kind has had no control over the breeding. So they are natural selection.


There is only one subspecies. It is called the Maui Dolphin. In 2010-11 there were estimated to be only 55 left. The Maui Dolphins and the Hector's Dolphins are very close in dolphins. Both of their scientific names are Cephalorhynchus Hectori. They are often seen in water shallower than 20 meters but will roam to deeper waters. They are slightly smaller than the Hector's Dolphin. They are not a real species. They are just a subspecies of the Hector's Dolphin.

Homologous / Vestigial

The dolphins have vestigial limbs and organs. Here are some of them. Pelvis. Hind limbs. Flipper. Femur. Pectoral fin.

Global Warming

The Hector's dolphin will have to adapt to the deeper water. They usually like shallower water. They will also have to adapt to more fish in the deeper sea, more fishing nets, more fishers.

Work Cited

"Dolphin and Porpoise." WorldWildlife.org. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://worldwildlife.org/species/hector-s-dolphin

"Hector's Dolphin." MTHSEcology -. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. http://mthsecology.wikispaces.com/Hector's+Dolphin

"Hector's and Maui's dolphins." WWF New Zealand. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://www.wwf.org.nz/what_we_do/species_/hector

"Hector's dolphin." WWF. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/about/hectors_dolphin

"Protecting our native plants, animals and wild places, on land and in our oceans. Help us to help nature.." Hector's Dolphin Factsheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. http://forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/campaigns/havens-hectors/hectors-dolphin-factsheet

"What, if anything, is a Maui's dolphin?." Giant Flightless Birds. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://www.giantflightlessbirds.com/2012/03/mauis-dolphin/

"Protecting our native plants, animals and wild places, on land and in our oceans. Help us to help nature.." Hector's & Maui's dolphins. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2014. http://forestandbird.org.nz/saveourdolphins

By: Stephanie Parsons

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