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Stenella longirostris   (Gray, 1828)

spinner dolphin
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Image of Stenella longirostris (spinner dolphin)
Picture by Aquino, Maria Theresa

Classification Common names | Synonyms | CoL | ITIS | WoRMS

Mammalia | Cetacea | Delphinidae

Main reference References | Biblio | Coordinator | Collaborators

Tan, J.M.L. 1995. (Ref. 936)

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 240 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1394); 200 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 77.0 kg (Ref. 1394)


Pelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 75906); depth range 0 - 300 m (Ref. 7941)

Climate / Range

Tropical; 90°N - 90°S, 180°W - 180°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Atlantic Ocean and Indo-Pacific: Stenella longirostris longirostris: Around oceanic islands in the tropical Atlantic, Indian, Western and Central Pacific east to about 145°W. Tropical, subtropical.

Short description

Spinner dolphins have various forms depending on their geographical locations. Commonly, these are small and slender animals that have a relatively long slender beak. It has a tripartite coloration which consists of a dark grey dorsal cape, lighter grey lateral field and a white or very light ventral field. A dark band runs from the eye to the flipper, bordered above by a thin line. It has a clearly discernible contrast of cape with the lateral field and a smooth curve on the ventral margin of cape over the eye. The ventral white field extends dorsal variably nearly to level of eye; margin speckled; genital and axillary areas confluent. It also has a high to medium contrast between flipper band and gular region wherein variable spots are visible. Its flippers are dark or speckled. In adult males the dorsal fin is falcate to triangular and has a small to medium protuberant ventral keel.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Feeds predominantly at night, on mid-water fish and squid, and rest during much of the day (Ref. 1394). Dolphins are directly caught for use as shark-bait in Sta. Ana and Aparri, Philippines (Ref. 77119). Reside in coastal waters (Ref. 97368). May seek shelter in shallow sandy bottoms to protect themselves from predators (Ref. 80498). Observed year-round during daytime in sheltered bays or within lagoons. Forming schools ranging in size from 15 to 30 individuals to as large as 100 to 140 individuals (Ref. 97372). Feeds predominantly at night and rest during much of the day (Ref. 1394); on small (5 to 10 cm long) fishes, shrimps, and squid in deep offshore waters from the mesopelagic boundary. Follows the diel horizontal migration as well as the vertical migrations of its prey (Refs. 97368). Sexual maturity attained between 4 to 7 years (females, 165-170 cm) and 7 to 10 years (males, 160-180 cm). Promiscuous, with observable courtship display. Gestation period averages 10 months, produces only one calf. Born at 3-year intervals, calves are nursed for at least a year and weaned between 1 to 3 years (Ref. 80521). Common birth length: 77 cm. Average gestation period: 10.6 mo. Also Ref. 97747 (Ref. 75826).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 114614)

CITES status (Ref. 94142)

Threat to humans

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

Internet sources

BHL | BOLD Systems | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | FAO(fisheries: species profile; publication : search) | GenBank (genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | ispecies | National databases | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | FishBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia (Go, Search) | Zoological Record

Estimation of some characteristics with mathematical models

Vulnerability (Ref. 71543)
High to very high vulnerability (75 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)