Dusky Dolphin

Dusky Dolphin

Scientific Name
Lagenorhynchus obscurus



Cetacea (suborder) - Odontoceti

The adult's body is spindle-shaped. Its snout is short, not very distinct, and rounded. On each side of both jaws are 24 to 36 small cone-shaped teeth.

The dorsal fin is median, falcate, and more vertical than in other species of the Lagenorhynchus genus. The pectorals are extended. The flukes are small when compared to the rest of the body and have a median notch. There is a dorsal careen, drawn from the dorsal fin to the tail.

It measures between 1.40 and 2.0 metres and the newborn measures 60 cm.

Its average weight is between 115 and 140 kg and the newborn weighs 5 kg.

The colouring is generally dark grey on the back and white on the stomach, with a large grey area at the bottom of the flanks, extending from the snout's base or from the back of the eye to the anus. At the top of the flanks are light grey areas that run towards the back, below the dorsal fin, and form two flames that cross above the anal region, culminating at the base of the caudal. The flukes, pectorals, and snout are dark grey. The lower half of the dorsal fin is dark grey, while the other half is light grey.

This dolphin mostly feeds on pelagic fish, such as anchovies, and octopus.

Some are fished by net or harpoon for human consumption in South Africa. A few specimens have been caught for aquariums. This dolphin is common in the regions in which it lives.

In South Africa, it goes up to Walvis Bay in April to mate and give birth and returning south with its offspring in October and November.

This dolphin is a quick and energetic swimmer. They generally move in groups of three to 10, yet sometimes in bands of up to 20 or even over 100. They group by age. During the day it is active and looks for food, but once night falls it becomes lethargic. Some mass strandings have been observed in New Zealand.

Distribution : This is a coastal dolphin found in the Southern Hemisphere around the Pole, and in the cold and temperate waters.