SPINNER DOLPHIN – Stenella longirostris


Spinner dolphin facts: Spinner dolphins, also called longsnouted dolphins, are known for their acrobatic displays. Spinner dolphins are about 7.7 feet (2.3 meters) long and weigh about 170 pounds (78 kilograms). Males are usually larger than females. They vary in color from individuals that are all gray to ones having black backs, gray sides, and white bellies.

Geographic range: Spinner dolphins are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters.

Spinner dolphin habitat: Spinner dolphins mainly live in the open ocean, although they may come into shallow waters to feed.

What does spinner dolphin eat: Spinners are carnivores. They tend to feed at night and eat mainly fish, squid, octopus, and shrimp.

Behavior and reproduction: Spinner dolphins form schools or pods that may contain more than 1,000 individuals. They are very social and communicate with each other by sound and touch. They are best known for their ability to leap out of the water and turn on their longitudinal, long, vertical, axis. Some can spin as many as seven times on one jump. This behavior gave them their common name.

Less is known about the reproductive behavior of spinner dolphins than some other species because they live farther out in the ocean and they do not survive well in captivity. Females produce one calf after about a ten-and-a-half-month pregnancy. New calves are born about every three years.

Spinner dolphins and people: Spinners were the first dolphins captured for display in marine parks because of their ability to leap and spin, but they do not survive well in captivity. Their amazing leaps and spins attract ecotourists who want watch these animals in their natural habitat. Because they often associate with tuna, they are sometimes accidentally killed by fishing gear.

Conservation status: Spinner dolphins are not threatened.