Striped Dolphin
Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin are often found in warm waters, usually staying in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a member of the oceanic dolphin family, Delphinidae.

They can be found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, usually offshore, though sometimes in deeper waters closer to shore. The ancient Greeks even observed these dolphins in the Mediterraean, and often painted pictures of them.

This dolphin is easily recognized by the stripe that runs from their dark colored rostrum, around their eye, and down along their side to their rear flank. Another darker patch runs from their melon along their back to their dorsal, ending just behind their dorsal fin, with one portion sweeping forward on the body. The underside is usually considerably lighter in color – either white or pinkish. Coloration between individuals can vary greatly, with some looking grey in tone while others are more brown. Even within these two colors the tone of the color varies, with some being lighter or darker than others.

Found in large groups of anywhere from several hundred to several thousand, these dolphins are very active in the water. They breach frequently and can leap to great heights – up to 7 m (23 ft)! Quite acrobatic, they can be seen doing flips, spins, and leaps out of the water upside down. Some populations will bow ride, but others will not.

These dolphins do associate with common dolphins on a regular basis, and might even be confused as a common dolphin from a distance, but they lack the distinctive yellow hourglass shape on the side. Striped dolphins are also generally darker than a common dolphin.

The adult striped dolphin eats fish, squid, octopus, krill and other crustaceans. Mediterranean striped dolphins seem to prey primarily on cephalopods (50-100% of stomach contents), while northeastern Atlantic striped dolphins most often prey on fish, frequently cod. They mainly feed on cephalopods, crustaceans and bony fishes. They feed anywhere within the water column where prey is concentrated, and they can dive to depths of 700 m to hunt deeper-dwelling species.