Dolphins around the World
Page 4


Orcas

Orca

Orcas are the largest of the dolphins, being around 2.4 metres long when born and females growing to 8.2 metres and males 9.4 metres.They are one of the most wide-ranging of all the dolphin/whale species, being found from the equator to the icy polar regions, and from the coast to the deepest parts of all the world's ocean. They are coloured glossy black and white and highly recognizable.The males dorsal fins are much higher than females,up to 1.8 metres high. Females have shorter and more dolphin-like dorsals. Orcas have rounded heads, with no distinct beak, and have paddle like rounded pectoral fins.They have ten to twelve large conical teeth in each side of the upper and lower jaws, suitable for tearing up large prey.This species eats seabirds, turtles, fish, sharks, whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions.Orcas live in pods of between two and forty. Each group consists of at least one large male. They hunt in packs, and are highly efficient co-operative hunters, even hunting whales much larger than themselves. Orcas may be seen near Washington States San Juan Islands near Seattle Orca watching tours


Spotted Dolphins

Spotted calf

Spotted dolphins are found in tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, both in coastal waters and open ocean. This species seems to favour low saline waters with surface temperatures greater than 25 degrees C.They are long & slender, and have a more slender beak than the bottlenose. Spotted dolphins are light or steel grey in colour, and become covered with spots as they grow older. Newborn dolphins have no spots at all. The spots cover the upper body and flanks of the adults, extending to the belly with age. In size, calves are born about 80 centimetres long at birth, and grow to a maximum of 2.5 metres long, with males being slightly larger and heavier then females. Spotted dolphins can live up to 45 years, and live in schools ranging from a few dozen to several thousand. Spotted dolphins often associate with spinner dolphins, and yellowfin tuna, and because of this association their numbers have been greatly reduced as a result of tuna fishing. Spotted Dolphins are being studied by Dr. Denise Herzing The Wild Dolphin Project. For the lucky few there are live aboard trips to see and swim with the wild spotted dolphins at White Sand Ridge in the Bahamas such as offered by the Dolphin Dream Foundation


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