Facts about Pantropical Spotted Dolphins
Nicknamed leapers by Hawaiian fishermen, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins engage in various aerial acrobatics, making high, arching leaps above the ocean surface. They can also reach top speeds of up to 21 knots in just two seconds!
|Scientific name:||Stenella attenuata|
|Range:||Tropical to warm temperate waters|
|Length:||up to 2.57 m|
|Reproduction:||Give birth every 2.5 to 4 yrs|
|Diet:||Fish, cephalopod, crustaceans|
|Predators:||Sharks, Orcas, False Killer Whales, Man|
|IUCN Conservation status||Least concern|
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin Identification
Pantropical Spotted Dolphins have fairly slender bodies with a small dorsal fin and moderately long, slender beaks. They are born without spots but accumulate them as they age until they are almost entirely covered in overlapping spots. They also possess dark capes and a white tipped beak.
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin adaptations
The Pantropical Spotted Dolphin is one of the most social cetacean species. Often found in schools of hundreds or even thousands, these large groups are made up of smaller social units, each containing under 20 individuals. These smaller social groups remain physically close to one another, surfacing and diving synchronously. Pantropical Spotted Dolphins are sometimes called leapers by fishermen as they often make high arching leaps above the surface. Indeed, two trained individuals have been observed reaching speeds of over 21 knots in just two seconds!
Where do Pantropical Spotted Dolphins live?
Pantropicals occur in tropical to warm temperate oceanic waters between 40°N and 40°S. Three sub-species have been identified; one inhabits the near-shore waters around the Hawaiian Islands, another resides in the offshore waters of the eastern tropical Pacific, while the other inhabits coastal waters between Baja California and the northwestern coast of South America.
How big are Pantropical Spotted Dolphins?
How long do Pantropical Spotted Dolphins live?
What do Pantropical Spotted Dolphins eat?
Pantropical Spotted Dolphins eat a wide range of small pelagic fish, as well as cephalopods and crustaceans. They find their prey on surface waters or in the water column.
What eats Pantropical Spotted Dolphins?
Sharks, Orca and False Killer Whales are known to prey on Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. Pygmy Killer Whales may also be predators.
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin life cycle and reproduction
Calving occurs year round with several seasonal peaks, while the gestation period is just over 11 months. Calves will start to eat solid food from 6 months but will not be fully weaned until they are at least 1 year of age, often not until they are 2 years old or more. The average calving interval varies between populations but ranges between 2.5 to 4 years.
Are Pantropical Spotted Dolphins endangered and if so why?
Pantropical Spotted Dolphins are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN meaning that they are not currently at risk of extinction. However, they are frequently caught as bycatch in fishing nets due to their association with Yellowfin Tuna. They are also hunted for human consumption in several countries, including Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.