Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Cetacean
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Information Sheets Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005e) [Information Sheet].
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Least Concern (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Lagenorhynchus cruciger [42]
Family Delphinidae:Cetacea:Mammalia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Quoy and Gaimard,1824)
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

No population estimates available but presumably abundant judging by frequency of sightings. Probably circumpolar in pelagic waters of the Subantarctic and Antarctic zones, south of the Subtropical Convergence. Most records fall between 45&#176 and 65°S (Rice 1998). Seen to the SE of NZ and from outside territorial waters S of Aust. Confirmed record (skull) from Heard I. and unconfirmed sightings from there. Sighted in the vicinity of Macquarie I. (Bannister et al. 1996; Kasamatsu et al. 1988).

Described by Quoy & Gaimard (1824) as Delphinus cruciger. A well-established species. Validity of the six species in the genus confirmed on morphological grounds by Miyazaki & Shikano (1997). No subspecies described (Bannister et al. 1996; Rice 1998).

Pelagic and oceanic. Cold waters of polar and subantarctic zones in waters of about 0-12&#176C. Most sightings occurring at temperatures of <7.0&#176C. Rarely seen near land. In Antarctic, usually seen away from pack ice. May be found in cool currents associated with West Wind Drift. No key localities known in Aust. or Antarctic waters, but apparent concentrations in Whaling Areas* VI and I, and apparently commonly sighted around Heard I. (Bannister et al. 1996).

[* Six Antarctic whaling ares were demarcated at the Washington Conference of 1946 (at which the beginnings of the International Whaling Commission were first laid down). These areas lie south of 40&#176S and extend to the Antarctic continent, or more practically, to the ice edge. Each comprises between 50&#176 and 70&#176 of longitude as follows:

  • Area I 120&#176W - 60&#176W
  • Area II 60&#176W - 0&#176
  • Area III 0&#176 - 70&#176E
  • Area IV 70&#176E - 130&#176E
  • Area V 130&#176E - 170&#176W
  • Area VI 170&#176W - 120&#176W]

No information

Very limited data (two specimens): fish and squid (Bannister et al. 1996).

Biological overview (based on non-Aust. information):

Maximum weight >94 kg; maximum length >1.74 m (male), >1.83 m (female) (Biermann & Slijper 1948; Brownell unpub.; Leatherwood & Reeves 1983). School size ranges from 1-100, with most being up to eight individuals. Acrobatic, rides bow waves. Has been seen in company with several other cetacean species including Long Finned Pilot Whales, Southern Bottlenose Whale, Arnoux's Beaked Whales, Killer Whales, Southern Right Whale Dolphins, Sei Whales and Fin Whales (Kasamatsu et al. 1988). Sounds include clicks and whistles. Few strandings are known.

[Bannister et al. 1996]

No information is available for any aspect of reproduction, including: length and weight at birth; age and length at weaning; age and length at sexual maturity; calving interval, season or calving areas. mating season or gestation period (Bannister et al. 1996).

No threats data available.

Bannister, J.L., C.M. Kemper & R.M. Warneke (1996). The Action Plan for Australian Cetaceans. [Online]. Canberra: Australian Nature Conservation Agency. Available from:

Bierman, W.H. & E.J. Slijper (1948). Remarks upon the Species of the Genus Lagenorhynchus I and II. Proceedings Koninklijke Nederlandsche Akademie van Wetenschappen. 51:127-133.

Brownell, R.L. (unpub.). Hourglass Dolphin Lagenorhynchus cruciger (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824).

Kasamatsu, F, Yamamoto,Y, Zenitani, R, Ishikawa, H, Ishibashi, T, Sato, H, Takashima, K & Tanifuji, S. (1988). Distribution of Cetacean Sightings in the Antarctic: Results Obtained from the IWC/IDCR Minke Whale Assessment Cruises, 1978/79 to 1983/84. Reports of the International Whaling Commission. 38:449-482.

Kasamatsu, F. D. Hembree, G. Joyce, L. Tsunoda, R. Rowlett & J. Nakano (1988a). Report of the 1990-91 Southern Minke Whale Research Cruise under Scientific Permit in Area V. Reports of the International Whaling Commission. Page(s) 449-482.

Leatherwood, S. & R.R. Reeves (1983). The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

Miyazaki, N. & C. Shikano (1997). Comparison of Growth and Skull Morphology of Pacific white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens, between the Coastal Waters of Iki Island and the Oceanic Waters of the western North Pacific. Mammalia. 61:561-572.

Rice, D.W. (1998). Marine mammals of the world. Systematics and distribution. Special publication number 4. Kansas: Society for Marine Mammalogy.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Lagenorhynchus cruciger in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:42:12 +1000.