|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Hectors Dolphin (Cephalarynchus hectori) is one of the smallest cetaceans,growing to around 1.4 metres long and weighing around 50 kilograms at adulthood.|
It is also the worlds rarest dolphin and is only found in coastal waters around New Zealand.
Recent surveys put the estimated population at just under 7,400 individuals. Most of these are found off the West Coast of the South Island,but there are smaller populations off the east and south coasts as well.
There is aso a subspecies,Mauis dolphin (Cephalarychus hectori maui) of which only 111 survive. These are restricted to a small stretch of the North Islands west coast,between Kawhia and Muriwai.
Hectors dolphins mature at around 8 years of age and live for about 20 years.
They have a sloping forehead that tapers to a point,rather than a beak like most other dolphins.
They also have a distinctive rounded dorsal fin which makes identifying them easier.They are silvery grey in colour,with a white underside and a crescent shaped blowhole on the head between the eyes.
They group in pods of up to 8 and usually remain close to shore,often just beyond the surf.They also remain within the same stretch of coastline for their lifetime,rarely travelling more than 50kms from their birthplace.
Hectors dolphins feed on bottom dwelling fish such as stargazers,red cod,and flounder,as well as crabs and squid.
They are slow breeding.Females give birth to one calf every 2-3 years,from the age of 8 onwards.Gestation usually takes around a year and calves are born from September to February.At birth calves are around 50cm long and weigh around 9kg.Females may have around 4 calves in a lifetime.
Hectors dolphins are vulnerable to drowning in setnets and trawling,as well as injury by boats and debris.
They are also very sensitive to pollution,and in 1999 were given their threatened species status by the Department Of Conservation.
I photographed this one yesterday from my kayak off Dolomite Point,just below the famous Pancake Rocks,or 'Punakaiki' as they were known to the Maori people.
I spent the whole day playing with these wonderful creatures,as I often do.They are very curious and playful,and love to dive through the waves alongside me as I surf on my kayak.
I was also in the caves beneath the main blowhole at low tide,and took photos in there too,so I'll post some of those later.
I hope you enjoy this one.
cedryk, Rolf, Janice, IndonesiaWild, vizion, elizabeth has marked this note useful
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- [2007-03-06 5:54]
That's just wonderful picture with lovely colours. I just wish the frame included the whole tail but that's a minor thing.
Thanks for showing the species I didn't know before and for an excellent note!
Best greetings and TFS!
Living on the water, and taken many photo of fish and thing I can appricate the chalging photographing sea animals well done on the composure and excllent detail excllent captured
- [2007-03-06 8:56]
Really interesting view of this dolphin. Nice colours and details.
nice pic, TFS Ori
- [2007-03-07 14:37]
Great shot of the dolphin underwater Steve. We can see him quite clearly - for a moment I thought you were under the water with him. What a fun time you must have had with them swimming around your kayak. TFS
What an amazing "x-ray vision" shot of this extraordinarily rare species! I'll alert a cetacean friend who at least will be delighted, and at best might find you new and exciting homes for this picture someday.
- [2007-04-15 17:47]
So that's how he looks like. I didn't get a chance myself to see Hectors dolphin.
I have tried some times in Canada to take a 'shot' on dolphins and it's really hard because they move so fast, but you have achieved well here.
This is a very good shot of our beautiful Hector's Dolphin. The light patterns in the water have not disturbed the outline of the dolphin too much so we can still see the detail clearly; especially the distinctive 'Mickey Mouse ear' shape of the dorsal fin. Ideally it would have been great to have all the tail included in the frame, but you did really well to get what you did as I know from experience how fast these dolphins are! Awesome work (I would be really pleased to have a shot like this) and wonderfully informative notes.