Another species painting for the Porpoise Conservation Society, this piece offers a glimpse into something we will likely never get to see: a Dall’s porpoise nursery pod underwater. Although a striking and conspicuous species, very little is known about Dall’s porpoise social lives. Animals that bowride and offer close looks are usually juvenile: females with calves are wary and stay far away from humans. Nonetheless some proof exists to support the idea that females come together in nursery pods, perhaps for protection or to help each other tend to their calves.
Here we see females with calves in all stages of life. Near the surface a mother races along with the almost fully grown daughter, in the foreground a mother dives down with her newborn in tow, and in the background two mothers socialise – one with another neonate, the other an unruly juvenile.
Note the juvenile’s almost delphinid facial markings, and the lighter sides that are almost creamy on the calves and have faded to grey on the juvenile. Dall’s porpoises in fact posses markings like most cetaceans, but as adults they darken out so much that the markings become indistinguishable.