Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis)


Meaning of species name "Chinese". Coastal, from the Cape of Good Hope to China and south to both sides of northern Australia.

At sea identification: Mean adult body length is 2.4 m. Coloration ranges from grey, bluish grey, tan to pink and even white (in China), either uniform or with dark cape and tip of dorsal fin. Robust body, long and slender, separated beak, broad pectoral fins with rounded tips. The distinct mark of the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea population is the mid-back hump from which rises the dorsal fin (causing the exposed back to look like a 3-staired pyramid). Rarely seen in water deeper than 20 m. Solitary, in pairs or small groups, seemingly unsegregated by age or sex. Unsocial and non-acrobatic. Typically exposes beak prior to blow-hole upon surfacing. Also tends to expose head and a single pectoral fin when resting or milling. Flukes surface before sounding. Most dives are less than a minute. Especially when foraging, mat be found in mixed groups with bottlenose dolphins.

Identifying marks on land: Hump and pectorals. 30-38 teeth in each half jaw.

Feeds on a wide variety of shallow water fish. Sexual maturity at 10 years for both sexes, pregnancy lasts 10-12 months, calving peaks in spring and summer. Calf is weaned by 2, mother-calf bond lasts 3-4 years. Occurs in the Red Sea, up to the tip of the Gulf of Suez and the Bitter Lakes. Occasional Lessepsian migrant to the Mediterranean. A single sighting of one individual along the Israeli coast, traveling and foraging in mid winter from Atlit to Ashdod.

Additional facts:

Adult weight: 150-280 Kg.

Newborn length is 1 m and weight is 25 kg

Life expectancy: Probably 30-40 years.