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Common Dolphin


Common dolphin - Delphinus delphis

Photo © Sylvain Cordier / Getty Images.

The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) grows to lengths of 2.3m-3.6m (7.5ft-8.5ft) and weights of up to 80kg (175lb). Common dolphins are colorful with a characteristic hourglass-shaped pattern on their sides. A yellow-buff color extends on each side of the dolphin, from the face to just behind the dorsal fin, where it narrows. A soft gray color widens from that point, reaching toward the tail. Narrow stripes of dark grey line the mouth, eye, and chin areas. The back is dark grey to black.

Common dolphins are very social animals and form pods of hundreds, even thousands of individuals. They work together to gather food and use a variety of sounds (clicks, squeaks, and creaks) to communicate. They are fast swimming and often ride waves, leaping and frequently breaking the surface of the water.


Where to See:

Temperate and tropical oceans, worldwide distribution. Offshore, deep ocean. Occasionally found inshore, although the inshore populations are sometimes considered separate species (Dephinus capensis).

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