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Porpoises: Phocoenidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Harbor Porpoise (phocoena Phocoena): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, PORPOISES AND PEOPLE

HARBOR PORPOISE (Phocoena phocoena): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
BURMEISTER'S PORPOISE (Phocoena spinipinnis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Porpoises are found along the coasts of large parts of North and South America (except the tropics and subtropics), Europe, and in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. They are also found off the coast of Siberia and northern Japan.

Porpoises live in a variety of ocean habitats. The spectacled porpoise lives in cold, open ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. Another Southern Hemisphere porpoise, Burmeister's porpoise, lives in warmer, shallow waters along the coast of South America. This porpoise can also live in freshwater rivers. The finless porpoise and the vaquita also like shallow warm water. The harbor porpoise and Dall's porpoise both live in cold water habitats.

Because porpoises are shy and avoid boats, they have very few interactions with people. Until the mid 1940s, they were hunted for food and oil, but now intentional hunting occurs only occasionally in Greenland and in the Black Sea. They are, however, often caught and drowned in fishing gear.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals