Facts about Common dolphins (short beaked and long beaked)

Factfile


Scientific Name: Delphinus delphis (short-beaked)
Delphinus capensis (long-beaked)
Family: Delphinidae
Range: Warm temperate to tropical waters in Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans
Habitat: Coastal and oceanic
Status: Locally common
Population: Unknown
Diet: Mostly schooling fish and squid
Length: 1.8-2.6m
Weight: 90-150kg


Identification


Flukes: Black or grey above and below, with concave trailing edges and a notch in the middle
Dorsal fin: Can be black, grey or even centrally pale. Moderately tall with concave trailing edge
Flippers: Black or grey with convex leading edge
Shape of head: In the short-beaked form, forehead is quite domed and the beak is of moderate length and boldly marked
In the long-beaked form, forehead is less domed and the beak slightly longer and less boldly marked
Body: Dark grey or brown upper body pattern forms a V-shape below the dorsal fin. A yellowish patch on the mid-flank of the front half of the body and a similar sized grey patch on the rear half produce a distinctive “hour-glass” shape. The lower flanks grade to pale on the underside of the front two-thirds of the body
Group size: Usually travel in groups of 10-200, occasionally up to several thousand. Schools of long-beaked species tend to be smaller than long-beaked
Behaviour: Acrobatic and bowride, breach and porpoise. High pitched squeals and whistles can occasionally be heard above the water surface


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