Common Dolphin

Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) Spanish name: Delfin comun, Bufeo

This dolphin is found more often in the open ocean, but sometimes swims in shallow waters.

An inhabitant of all oceans, the common dolphin lives in both tropical and temperate waters. In the Americas, it is found as far south as Chile.

Physical Description
The common dolphin has an elongate body with a black or blackish brown V-shaped patch on the back and white underside. The snout is black with white spots, and there are several dark lines on the face and extending from the lower jaw to the flippers. There are long white areas along the sides of the body as well. The dorsal fin is triangular and dark, the flippers sharp and pointed, and the flukes gray or black with a center notch.

Interesting Biology
This dolphin is not only common, but also is the most gregarious of dolphins; it is frequently found in herds with hundreds of individuals, and in the Black Sea can be found in masses of 300,000 because there is a concentration of fish high enough to support so many dolphins. This marine mammal may also mix herds with other species.

This dolphin can dive 280 m deep and stay underwater for up to 8 minutes; it is a fast swimmer on the surface of the water, reaching speeds of 46 km/h. It may swim nimbly alongside small boats or riding the waves before the bow. Common Dolphins use echolocation and many vocalizations to communicate with each other, and may be considered affectionate, as they help sick common dolphins stay afloat to breathe. Females can have 1-3 calves at a time, and wean them at 6 months.

This delightful dolphin is often caught in tuna fishing nets, or is intentionally killed by fishermen because it competes with them for fish.

The common dolphin eats a variety of fish, such as sardines, anchovies, and herrings, as well as squid and octopus. It eats 40 kg of food every day.

This dolphin reaches lengths of 2.5 m and weighs 100-130 kg; the male is slightly larger.

Brief Taxonomy
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae

Saenz, Joel C., Grace Wong, and Eduardo Carrillo. Ballenas y delfines de America Central. Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad. Costa Rica, 2004.

-Amy Strieter, Wildlife Writer