Dusky dolphin leaping at Kaikoura New Zealand
Duskies are a southern hemisphere dolphin usually found in
temperate waters and often seen in large groups of hundreds.
They use their bodies to help herd fish, in a variety of leaps
and water slaps. These leaps are also highly enjoyable to
watch and have earned the Duskies the title "acrobats of
They can be seen inshore in the warmer months at
Kaikoura New Zealand.
Dusky dolphins are not large, their maximum length is 2.1 metres with average size being between 1.6m and 1.8m. They have a very short beak and distinctive colourings.
They can be seen associating with common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, and other dolphin species.
As winter approaches they tend to move offshore and break up into smaller groups.
Steno (rough toothed) Dolphins
Steno Dolphin at Moorea
Stenos are found throughout tropical and subtropical areas, generally in deep waters and are thought to be uncommon.Some strandings have occurred in temperate waters.Their name comes from the numerous fine ridges on their teeth.
Stenos' lips are usually white. Their melon is not rounded, but
sloping, and their teeth are very sharp.Their pectorals fins are
large and dorsal fin quite tall.
Stenos range in size between 2.1m to 2.65m. They are known for having scratches and other spots of colour (white/pink/ivory) on all parts of their body.
They tend to live in groups of 50 or less, but may join together into larger pods of over 100 at times. They can sometimes be seen with pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, and other dolphin species.
Rough toothed dolphins in French Polynesia appear to be more active in early mornings or late afternoons. They will ride a boat's bow wave, but tire of this fairly quickly. During midday they tend to gather together in larger groups where they are relatively inactive. They seem to prefer water with a surface temperature above about 25C.
Indo -Pacific Humpback Dolphins
These dolphins have a crooked humped dorsal fin, wide at the base rising to a triangular pointed tip. The dorsal fin surmounts a hump that is obvious only in animals from the Indian Ocean, those from the Pacific Ocean have an indistinct or no hump. They grow to up to 3m.
Indo-pacific humpback dolphins are largely found in tropical areas, but also some sub-tropical areas with warm currents. They can be found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries and even mangrove channels in the Indian and Pacific oceans from South Africa to the Red Sea, Southern China, Borneo and north-eastern Australia. They favour shallow water less than 20 metres, hugging the shorelines, rarely being seen beyond the surf break.
They are whitish, greyish or spotted, with a light pink belly. Their colour varies depending on the area or age. In Australia for example they tend to darken to a dark grey as they age. The dorsal fin may however become pale in older animals. They form small groups of up to 5 or 6, or occasionally join up to as many as 20.
They may be seen in the Ningaloo Marine Park off the North West Cape of Western Australia. Here they are often seen with bottlenose dolphins and may also associate with finless porpoises in other areas.
They are slow swimmers, and are very shy, avoiding boats.
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