Spinner Dolphin

The Spinner Dolphins live in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They inhabit the warmer tropical and sub-tropical waters of these oceans. The Spinner Dolphin can be seen off the coasts of Islands in and around the waters of these oceans. Depending on the geographical locations of the Spinner Dolphins, their body shapes and sizes along with coloration will vary.

The Spinner Dolphin derives its name due to their ability of high spinning leaps from the water. They are very friendly and eager to bow ride with ships and other water vessels as long as there isn't any tuna fishing in the area. Areas where tuna fishing takes place, the Spinner Dolphins aren't known for approaching water vessels in a friendly way due to the threat they have been subjected to by the Tuna Fisheries.

In the Eastern Pacific four different varieties of this dolphin species have been documented, including, the Grey Spinner, Whitebelly, Eastern Pacific and Costa Rican Spinner Dolphins. The unique colorations of these mammals include their long slender beaks which have black tips and lips. They also have bodies which are most commonly grey with a three toned body coloration consisting of a dark grey back, basic grey body, and a light grey to creamy white and even sometimes pale pink on the underside of their bodies.

Adult Spinner Dolphins weigh between 75 to 95kg with a length of 1.8 to 2.1m. Sexual maturity is reached when the dolphins are 1.5 to 1.7m in length. The females give birth to a single calf every 2-3 years after a gestation period of 10-11 months. When the calf is born they are 75-85m in length and will nurse on the mothers milk for a period of 4-14 months before being weined. Although the Spinner Dolphin is weined from their mothers milk, they will remain close to the female parent dolphin for much longer, possibly their entire lives.

The Spinner Dolphin are generally found in herds of 20-100, which is a large difference compared to the pods consisting of up to 1000 in past years. The Spinner Dolphins are often found traveling near or with Spotted Dolphins and Common Dolphins along with small to medium sized whales such as the Pilot Whales.

Spinner Dolphins feed on mid-depth fish, squid and shrimp. However they have also been known to feed on bottom dwelling and reef organisims when stuck in shallower waters.

Threats to the Spinner Dolphins are very high when it comes to tuna fisheries. Yellowfin Tuna often associates with the Spinner Dolphin by swimming underneath them. When fisherman, tuna fisherman, are hunting for their catch of Yellowfin Tuna, they'll herd them into a circle and drop a net over the them for the catch. When the nets fall to catch the tuna, the Spinner Dolphins swimming above them are also caught and killed.