Phocoena sinus Norris & McFarland, 1958

Vaquita, Vaquita porpoise, Gulf Of California harbour porpoise, Gulf Of California porpoise, Gulf porpoise



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Last record: Extant (functionally extinct)

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered



Gulf of California (northern), Mexico


Biology & Ecology










Baillie, Jonathan E. M. and Butcher, Ellen R. (2012). Priceless or Worthless? The world’s most threatened species. London, UK: Zoological Society of London.

Barlow, J., Gerrodette, T. and Silber, G. 1997. First estimates of Vaquita abundance. Marine Mammal Science 13(1): 44-55.

Bessesen, Brooke. (Due September, 2018). Vaquita: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez. Island Press. 256 pp.

Brownell, R.L., Findley, L.T., Vidal, O., Robles, A., and Manzanilla, S.N. 1987. External morphology and pigmentation of the vaquita, Phocoena sinus (Cetacea: Mammalia). Marine Mammal Science 3: 22-30.

Brusca, R.C., Álvarez-Borrego, S., Hasting, P.A. and Findley, L.T. 2017. Colorado River flow and biological productivity in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico. Earth-Science Reviews 164: 1-30.

CIRVA. 2015. Report of the Sixth Meeting of the Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita (CIRVA-VI) 66a Report of the Scientific Committee (SC/66a). Annex L, Appendix 2:23-25.

CIRVA. 2016. Report of the Eigth Meeting of the Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita (CIRVA-VIII) available at:

CIRVA. 2017. Report of the Ninth Meeting of the Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita (CIRVA-IX) available at:

D'Agrosa, C., Lennert-Cody, C.E. and Vidal, O. 2000. Vaquita bycatch in Mexico's artisanal gillnet fisheries: driving a small population to extinction. Conservation Biology 14: 1110–1119.

D'Agrosa, C., Vidal, O. and Graham, W.C. 1995. Mortality of the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) in gillnet fisheries during 1993–94. Report of the International Whaling Commission 16: 283–291.

Gerrodette, T. and Rojas-Bracho, L. 2011. Estimating the success of protected areas for the vaquita, Phocoena sinus. Marine Mammal Science 27: E101-125.

Gerrodette, T., Fleischer, L.A. and Perez-Cortes, H. 1995. Distribution of the vaquita, Phocoena sinus, based on sightings from systematic surveys. International Whaling Commission Report SC/46/SM7 ..

Gerrodette, T., Taylor, B.L., Swift, R., Rankin, S., Jaramillo-Legorreta, A. and Rojas-Bracho, L. 2011. A combined visual and acoustic estimate of 2008 abundance, and change in abundance since 1997, for the vaquita, Phocoena sinus. Marine Mammal Science 27(2): E79-E100.

Jaramillo-Legorreta, A., Cardenas-Hinojosa, G., Nieto-Garcia, E., Rojas-Bracho, L., Ver Hoef, J., Moore, J., Tregenza, N., Barlow, J., Gerrodette, T., Thomas, L. and Taylor, B. 2016. Passive acoustic monitoring of the decline of Mexico’s critically endangered vaquita. Conservation Biology 31: 183-191. Doi: 10.1111/cobi.12789.

Jaramillo-Legorreta, A.M. 2008. Estatus actual de una especie en peligro de extinción, la vaquita (Phocoena sinus): una aproximación poblacional con métodos acústicos y bayesianos. Master Degree Dissertation. Facultad de Ciencias Marinas, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. 108 pp + 4 appendices.

Jaramillo-Legorreta, A.M., Rojas-Bracho, L. and Gerrodette, T. 1999. A new abundance estimate for Vaquitas: first step for recovery. Marine Mammal Science 15: 957-973.

Kyriazis, Christopher C. et al. (2023). Models based on best-available information support a low inbreeding load and potential for recovery in the vaquita. Heredity.

Reeves, R.R., Smith, B.D., Crespo, E.A. and Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. 2003. Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises: 2002-2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World's Cetaceans. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Rodríguez-Pérez, Mónica Y. et al. (2021). Deciphering the trophic niche of the nearly extinct vaquita (Phocoena sinus) and its variability through time. Progress in Oceanography 199: 102694.

Rodríguez-Quiroz, Gerardo et al. (2018). Can the vaquita be saved from extinction? Human–Wildlife Interactions 12(2): 284-290.

Rojas-Bracho, L. and Jaramillo-Legorreta, A.M. 2002. Vaquita Phocoena sinus. In: W.F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J.G.M. Thewissen (eds). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 1277-1280. Academic Press.

Rojas-Bracho, L. and Taylor, B.L. 1999. Risk factors affecting the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Marine Mammal Science 15: 974–989.

Rojas-Bracho, L. & Taylor, B.L. 2017. Phocoena sinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T17028A50370296. Downloaded on 01 July 2018.

Rojas-Bracho, Lorenzo, Taylor, Barbara L., Booth, Cormac et al. (2022). More vaquita porpoises survive than expected. Endangered Species Research 48: 225-234.

Rosel, P.E., Haygood, M.G. and Perrin, W.F. 1995. Phylogenetic relationships among the true porpoises (Cetacea: Phocoenidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 4: 463-474.

Taylor, B.L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Moore, J., Jaramillo-Legorreta, A., Ver Hoef, J., Cardenas-Hinojosa, G., Nieto-Garcia, E., Barlow, J., Gerrodette, T., Tregenza, N., Thomas, L. and Hammond, P.S. 2016. Extinction is imminent for Mexico’s endemic porpoise unless fishery bycatch is eliminated. Conservation Letters: Doi: 10.1111/conl.12331.

Vidal, O. 1995. Population biology and incidental mortality of the Vaquita, Phocoena sinus. Report of the International Whaling Commission 16: 247–272.

Vidal, O., Brownell Jr., R. L. and Findley, L. T. 1999. Vaquita Phocoena sinus Norris and McFarland, 1958. In: S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison (eds), Handbook of Marine Mammals. Volume 6: The Second Book of Dolphins and the Porpoises, pp. 357–378. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.


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