Commerson's Dolphin

Commerson's Dolphins were first recognized in 1767, by Roert Commerson, which is why they have the name, "Commerson's Dolphin". The Commerson's Dolphin was not classified until 1804, as part of the genus species, "Dolphinus Commersonii". This particular dolphin can be found in South America around the southern tip, near Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. They are also found at the southern part of the Indian Ocean, near the Kerguelin Islands, which was discovered to have the Commerson's Dolphin species in the 1950's.

The Commerson's Dolphins are found in shallow waters and are often spotted in naturally protected waters along with harbors. The most numerous spottings of these mammals are in the Straits of Magellan, the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego, around kelp beds within the waters. Globally the population numbers of this dolphin are unknown. However, a 1984 survey in the Straight of Magellan, estimated the population in this area to be 3,400 dolphins.

Comerson's Dolphins have a very distinctive pattering which allows spotting them to be fairly easy. The head, dorsal fin and fluke of these mammals are black, while the throuat and body are white. This particular dolphin doesn't have a beak.

The female and male Commerson's dolphins reach sexual maturity around the ages of 6-9 years. Males and females are able to be distinguished by markings aroung the genital areas. The males have a black marking shaped like a teardrop, while the females have a black marking shaped more like an arrow.

Mating season for the Commerson's dolphin takes place in the spring and summer months. After an 11-12 month gestation period, the females give birth to their calf. When born a calf is half the size of its mother with a lenght of 22-30 inches. Calves are born with a non-distinguished color pattern. They are grey, black and brown when born, the brown areas will go to black as they mature, while the grey colors will turn completely white when fully mature. As an adult the Commerson's Dolphin will reach a length of 1.5 meters, and their bodies are very stocky and round. This dolphin will live to their teen years. The oldest Commerson's Dolphin was documented at the age of 18.

The Commerson's Dolphins diet consist of fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans, which are found on the bottoms of the waters they inhabit. This particular dolphin is very active in the water and enjoy breaching in the water going quickly for short periods of time. They have also been noted as being surfers, meaning they ride wave breaks toward the shores of the waters and riding the sea swells back out to the deeper parts of the waters.

Threats against the Commerson's Dolphin include hunting in both Chile and Argentina, using them as crab bait. They have also been caught within fishermans nets.