Phocoenidae – Coastal & River porpoises
This family includes the Vaquitas of Mexico: the smallest and most endangered cetaceans
While porpoises may appear to be small, plump dolphins, they are more closely related to narwhals and beluga whales. Porpoises inhabit diverse aquatic habitats, including rivers, harbors, and open oceans. They build mental maps of their environment, meaning they can navigate from memory.
Unlike dolphins, porpoises don’t use whistles to communicate. Instead, they use a pattern of high-frequency ‘clicks’ for the echolocation of prey and another pattern of clicks emitted with greater intensity when communicating. This way, porpoises can warn each other while remaining undetected because their predators (killer whales) can’t hear them.