Common Dolphin - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Common Dolphin

Common Dolphin

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Fact Sheet

Common Name: Common Dolphin

Scientific Name: Delphinus delphis

Length as an adult: 5 ¾ to 8 feet

Weight as an adult: 160 to 297 pounds

Length and weight at birth: 30 to 36 inches

Time spend nursing: up to 19 months and then are weaned

Range: Global, tropical and temperate waters

Likelihood of being seen on a whale watch in Massachusetts coastal waters: Somewhat likely

Preferred Food: Fish, mackerel, herring, cod, and squid

Unusual characteristics: Along with typical behaviors like breaching and tail-slapping, common dolphins have been seen chin-slapping.

Appearance: Somewhat short beak for a dolphin, multi-colored bodies: gray back, white belly, long tan to yellow patch on side of body.

General Information: Common dolphins are intelligent, agile and playful animals. Normally live up to 20 years but may live up to 40. The common dolphin is also an extremely fast swimmer.

Unusual habits: The common dolphin strands alone relatively often. The bond between the mother and calf is very strong. Either stays until the death of the other if one is captured. Similar bonds are present between males and females, and between adults of the same sex.

Status: Abundant and found worldwide (e.g. 53% of odontocetes in southern Californian waters were common dolphins).

Threats: Common dolphins face a mixture of threats due to human influence, especially as bycatch in tuna fisheries and decline of prey items.


Prepared by: Stephanie Duran