The Long Beaked Common Dolphin

The long beaked dolphin or, Delphinus Capensis, is also known as a "common Dolphin" along with the short beaked dolphin. The long beaked dolphin is part of the Delphinidae family. These are mammals, (air breathing animals that give birth to live calfs), that like tropical warm waters and they are most often found in coastal waters.

The long beaked dolphin is a colorful mammal, with a criss-crossed and hourglass color pattern on their sides. The long beaked dolphin has a flat melon, (the forehead of the dolphin which contains oil which is suspected to be how they use echolocation, or sound waves in the water), and is more muted in color compared to the short beaked common dolphin. The color patterns of this common dolphin are the most elaborate of any Cetacean, meaning an aqautic mammal.

Common dolphins, including the long-beaked dolphin, can reach lengths of 7.5 to 8.5 feet in length and weigh as much as 297lbs., when fully matured. The long-beaked dolphin, however, is usually lighter with a shorter dorsal fin and shorter flippers, than the short-beaked common dolphin.

The long beaked dolphin reaches sexual maturity when they are 3-4 years old and 6-7 feet in length. Female long-beaked dolphins and the male dolphins do not stay together after mating, the mother takes full care of the calf until it is able to take care of itself. The females have a gestation period, (or carry there young within their bellies), for 10 to 11 months. When the calves, (baby dolphins), are born, they are about 30 to 34 inches long. The calf drinks milk from the mother until it's about 1 1/2 years old but it does start eating fish at about 6 months. The mother dolphin will not have a new baby for 2 to 3 years and when she does the older brother or sister stays close until it is 4-5 years old. The mother dolphin has a very close bond with her young.

The common long-beaked dolphin feeds on small schooling fish, shrimp and squid. The long-beaked dolphin has been observed working together to herd fish into tight balls to make feeding easier for all. The long-beaked dolphin is also known to feed on fish that escape from fisherman's nets or discarded from there boats. The average dolphin can eat upto 14lbs. of food a day.

The long-beaked common dolphins are found in all tropical and warm waters. They are most often found in coastal waters but they are also commonly found in the Southern California Bight.

Unfortunately the longbeaked common dolphins are often taken by the hundreds in purse seine nets, (nets used for tuna fishing), in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. They are also often caught in midwater trauts, also used by fisherman. Being that they need air to breathe, when caught in either one of these fishing traps, they are not able to reach the surface of the water and unable to get the air that they need.

Turkish and Russian fisherman used to catch large numbers of common dolphins in the Black Sea and use them for meat, oil and fish meal, (fishermans bait). This stopped when it became apparent that their herd numbers where being rapidly depleted. There are indications that the Turkish fishery still catches and uses dolphins for this same purpose along with a Japanese fishery that has fishing boats in the Mediterraniean Sea. Peru is also suspected of killing the common dolphin for human consumption.