Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)
Species name after the artist Van Breda. Circum-global in deep warm waters.
At sea identification: Mean adult body length is 2.5 m, dark coloration with a white to pinkish belly. Creamy or pinkish white blotches and spots on lower parts of flanks. Relatively long pectoral fins and tall triangular dorsal fin. Up close, identification is certain, on account of it being the only dolphin with the melon smoothly sloping into the beak, with no hint of a crease or change in angle. Usually sighted over deep waters, in groups of 10-20 with very tight formation and synchronous movement. Tends to swim near the surface with its dorsal fin exposed (could be confused with a shark). Rather boat-shy and not acrobatic. May dive up to 15 min.
Identifying marks on land: Apart from the front of the head, the distinct mark are the longitudinal grooved or furrows on the teeth, that can be seen or felt. Relatively large eyes.
Little is known about this dolphin. Feeds on a large variety of fish (of all sizes) and squid. Considered rare in the Mediterranean, but in our region strands regularly in late winter-spring and a large group entered Haifa Harbor on March 2005.
Adult weight: 160 Kg.
Newborn length is 1 m
Life expectancy: Over 30 years.