Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) 

 

 

Meaning of species name is "blue-white". Circum-global in deep warm waters.

At sea identification: Mature animals are 2 m in length, Similar in form to the common dolphin and only identified by the distinct coloration of a dark blue back, white belly, grey flanks with a broad finger-shaped marking invading the dark mantle below the dorsal fin. Three dark stripes extend from the eye: to anus, to pectoral fin and a thin short one in between. Pellagic, over water deeper than 1,000 m. Acrobatic but boat-shy. In the Mediterranean, group size is 7-25.

Identifying marks on land: If coloration pattern is not preserved, one should verify the lack of palate grooves, to differentiate from common dolphin.

Feeds on mesopellagic (in the mid water column) squid and fish (more on the former), at depths between 200-700 m. Females in the Med reach maturity at 12 y, calves staying in their maternal group till 4 y before forming bachelor pods. The most abundant cetacean in the Mediterranean, with an endemic population of 100,000. In Israel known solely from beachings (second most common).

Additional facts:

Adult weight: Up to 150 Kg.

Newborn length is 0.9 m and weight is 10 kg

Life expectancy: Up to 60 y.

 

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