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Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Common Dolphin


There are two species of dolphins that fall into the category of Common Dolphin. There are some experts too that believe a 3rd one should be added, but only time will tell if that turns out to be the case or not. More research has to be completed to make that determination, and it isn’t something that can be rushed. Right now, there is the Short-Beaked Common Dolphin and the Long-Beaked Common Dolphin that are recognized.

The one that may be added soon is the Arabian Common Dolphin which is only found in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Still, the debate continues about if there is enough difference for them to be a separate subspecies or not.


If you have looked at various forms of literature and art from ancient Rome and Greece, then you already are familiar with the look of the Common Dolphin. Many people assume by the name that what they will see is what is often depicted in books and on TV. However, most of the time that image will actually be of the Bottlenose Dolphin.

The Short – Beaked Common Dolphin can weigh as much as 440 pounds and they can be up to 9 feet long. They have a very bright color to them which is very interesting. They often have patterns on them with dark gray that capes over them in a V shape under the dorsal fin on both sides of the body. Theirflank is a tan or yellow color.

long beaked common dolphinThe Long – Beaked Common Dolphin is very similar in overall appearance. The main difference of course is the length of the beak. This species can be from 6 to 8 ½ feet in length. They can weight from 160 pounds to 500 pounds. The males are going to be a bit larger than the females. They have a dorsal fin that is in the middle of the back. They too have the distinctively bright color patterns.

It can be tough to distinguish these two subspecies of Common Dolphins from each other. However, if you look at images of them side by side you can see how they have some variation that allow you to uniquely identify them.

Common Dolphin - Genus Delphinus

Common Dolphin – Genus Delphinus


These dolphins live in bodies of water that have a warm temperature. The Long – Beaked Common Dolphin is found close to the shallow waters. The Short – Beaked Common Dolphin though tends to be in deeper waters up to 590 feet. They tend to do well in many areas as long as they have enough food and warm enough water.

These dolphins don’t migrate like so many other species do. However, they will move around if necessary to find food and when there is unusually cold waters. They often do return to their home range though as soon as possible.


The Common Dolphin is very social, and they live in large groups called pods. The number in a pod can be several hundred or it can be in the thousands. The largest ones number over 10,000. They have a very complex hierarchy that keeps them orderly and they tend to create subgroups based on age and other factors.

This dolphin species has been seen taking part in a variety of different behaviors. They include somersaults, pitch poling, breaching, and bow riding. They are very active and they seem to be able to move through the water almost effortlessly. They are also playful so they spend time teasing each other.



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September 2015
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