There are 3 subspecies of finless porpoise, two are marine and one is freshwater: N. phocaenoides phocaenoides lives in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea; N. phocaenoides sunameri lives near the coast of northern China; and N. phocaenoides asiaorientalis lives in the Yangtze River and associated oxbow lakes in China. It occurs in the same sections of the Yangtze River where the baiji, which is now extinct, also lived, and faces the same range of threats as the baiji did, including fisheries bycatch, habitat degradation, pollution, and vessel strikes. The latest estimates for these finless porpoise suggest that the population has declined drastically over the last 10 years to less than 2,000 individuals (declining at a rate of about 7% per year). Currently, the Yangtze River finless porpoise is classified as "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) meaning it is facing a very high risk of extinction.Audiograms of the Yangtze River subspecies show that they have high sensitivity from 45 to 139 kHz, with the lowest hearing threshold around 48 dB re: 1uPa (at 54 kHz). Like other porpoises, echolocation signals are short duration, high-frequency pulses with a peak frequency of about 125 kHz, which are produced about every 6.4 s. Their clicks are similar in both duration and frequency to those of the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). However, freshwater finless porpoise clicks are markedly higher in frequency than those produced by the baiji. As the two species overlaped in their distribution, one hypothesis for this difference is that the two odontocete species used different frequencies so that their echolocation signals did not mask each other. Alternatively, the frequency differences could have been attributed to the difference in the size of prey preferred by each cetacean species.
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- Li, S., Wange, K., Wang, D., & Akamatsu T. 2005, "Echolocation signals of the free-ranging Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientialis)" Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 11(5): 3288-3296.
- Nakahara, F., Takemura, A., Koido, A., and H. Hiruda 1997, "Target discrimination by an echolocating finless porpoise, Neophocaena phocaenoides" Marine Mammal Science. 13(4): 639-649.
- Popov, V.V., Supan, A.Y., Wang, D., Wang, K., Xiao, J., and S. Li 2005, "Evoked-potential audiogram of the Yangtze finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeroientalis (L)" Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 5: 2728-2731.