Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Stenella frontalis (Cuvier, 1829)

The adult male spotted dolphin can be over 2m long and weigh about 140kg. The female is shorter, never more than 2m of length and has an average weight of 130kg.

Newborns measure about 0, 8cm and 1,2m of length. The pigmentation of the spotted dolphin can be described as tricolor. The dorsal area is darker, contrasting with shades of light gray on the sides, the caudal peduncle and with a whitish shaded belly.

The beak is elongated and has a white tip. The Main feature that distinguishes this species at sea is that adult animals have dark spots on the belly and bright ones on the dorsal and lateral region, whilst the young animals and calves are born without spots and are uniformly gray.

Spotted dolphins are very active. They often follow the boats, with very acrobatic aerial behaviors. It is a gregarious species, forming groups of tens to a few hundred individuals. Usually spotted dolphins dive for less than 2 min and to 10 m deep, but depths of 40-60 m have been recorded for a time of 6 min.

This specie reaches sexual maturity at 8-15 years. Cephalopods and small fish are the main preys of spotted dolphins.

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Additional Information

They visit the Azorean waters only in summer.

Imprisonment in fishing gear and pollution are the main threats to this mammal.