Striped Dolphins

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Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) and their cubs everywhere!

Over the past few weeks, we've seen these fast swimmers a little more often than usual, with 3 sightings in August and 4 in September. They are very active on the surface and can jump horizontally up to 6 meters. In addition, this species is considered the fastest of all dolphins, reaching speeds of 30 km per hour. It is therefore spectacular to see these beautiful dolphins ripping through the surface!

Figure 1. Small group of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) on the move. Photo credits: Luana Sa.

However, it is also possible to observe them performing other behaviors, such as the incredible ‘’roto-tailing’’! In this movement, dolphins perform curved jumps and, immediately before re-entering the water, flick their tails repeatedly.

One of the most striking features of this species is its coloring. The back is black or dark gray, the sides light gray with two bluish gray stripes, one that starts at the eye and extends to the tail and another from the eye to the dorsal fin, and a white belly. These dolphins usually measure around 2.3m and weigh around 150kg. However, the largest individual measured 2.56m and the heaviest individual was 156kg. Striped dolphins occur in diverse geographic regions, such as the western North Pacific, the eastern tropical Pacific, and the Mediterranean. Depending on the region in which they are found, they have different morphologies.

Figure 2. Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) on the surface. Photo credits: Luana Sa

Striped dolphins feed mostly on fish and small squid, sometimes having to dive to depths of 200m to 700m to hunt their prey!

Striped dolphin populations face several threats to their existence, such as bycatch in fishing nets. Furthermore, threats such as pollution and degradation of their habitats are of great concern.

Several attempts were made to keep this species in captivity, however the individuals did not survive more than 1 or 2 weeks due to deficits in the food provided.


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