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Pacific White-Sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens)

Pacific White Sided Dolphin

The Pacific white sided dolphin is very beautiful. They have a coloring that ranges from light to dark gray. The underside of them though is white. They also have dark black rings that cover both eyes. The beak is very small and often seems out of proportion with the rest of the body. One characteristic that you will notice is that the dorsal fin has a hook on the end of it.

They aren’t very large though compared to other types of dolphins. Full grown they will be about 8 feet long. They will weight approximately 300 pounds.


The Pacific white sided dolphin live in the Pacific Ocean. They are extremely fast swimmers so they can be observed moving quickly through these waters. They tend to stay in the temperate waters. They don’t like it where it is too warm but they also don’t like it when the water is too cool either.

More than 50,000 Pacific white sided dolphins live in the waters of Japan. There are also large numbers of them along the coast of California. A smaller number of them are found in the Bering Sea. In the summer months some of them migrate into areas of Oregon and Washington. It is estimated that there are about one million Pacific white sided dolphins out there.


Many people love to watch the movements of the Pacific white sided dolphin. They are very agile so they are often seen doing a variety of acrobatics in the water. They can also make huge leaps as they come out of the water for air and then dive back down into it. Other moves they can perform include somersaults and belly flops.

They tend to form groups of up to 100 of them. They seem to get along well with each other and the groups have very young, the very old, and everything in between found in them. There are also both males and females in a give group of these dolphins. They have also been seen along side other species of dolphins and whales without any problems. This generally will occur when they are sharing the same areas for feeding.

Pacific white-sided dolphin facts

Pacific white-sided dolphin – Lagenorhynchus obliquidens

Diet and Feeding

They love to feed on squid which makes up the primary portion of their diet. They will also consume a variety of fish. Some of the common ones include herring, sardines, and anchovies. They mainly engage in their feeding during the night time when the schools of fish are closer to the surface of the water.


Pacific white sided dolphins become mature enough for sexual activity when they reach a length of about 5 ½ to 6 feet for males and about 6 feet for females. They will mate late in the fall and it takes about a full year for the offspring to be born. The young will be fed milk from the mother for the first year of life. She will continue to care for it for 2 or 3 years and then be ready to mate again.


In the United States it is illegal to hunt the Pacific white sides dolphin. However, it remains legal to do so in places such as Japan. Sometimes these types of dolphins are accidentally harmed though by boats or fishing nets. Since 1993 though that has occurred less due to certain restrictions on the types of nets to be used being imposed in the United States.

Human interaction

The Pacific white sided dolphin seems to do well in captivity. A great deal about them have been observed this way. They seem to be extremely mellow though and there aren’t reports of them being aggressive towards humans.



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September 2015
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