Long-beaked common dolphin

The long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) is a species of common dolphin. It has a more restricted range than the short-beaked common dolphin (D. delphis). It has a disjointed range in coastal areas in tropical and warmer temperate oceans.

The long-beaked common dolphin is a member of common dolphin genus, Delphinus within the dolphin family, Delphinidae in the cetaceans order. Until the mid-1990s, the different forms within Delphinus were not recognized as separate species, but were all considered members of the species D. delphis. In 1994, Heyning and Perrin did research on these species and then Kingston and Rosel confirmed there were two separate species. Currently, the two recognized species of Delphinus are the short-beaked common dolphin (D. delphis) and the long-beaked common dolphin. The long-beaked common dolphin is generally larger with a longer beak than the short-beaked common dolphin and has a longer rostrum.

The color pattern on the body is unusual. The back is dark and the belly is white, while on each side is an hourglass pattern colored light grey, yellow or gold in front and dirty grey in back. This species also has a rounded melon on tops of their heads used for echolocation. It has a long, thin rostrum with up to 60 small, sharp, interlocking teeth on each side of each jaw. They have more teeth than any other delphinids.

Long-beaked common dolphin
  • Size

    The long-beaked common dolphin is medium-sized, but smaller than the more popular bottlenose dolphin. Adults range between 1.9 and 2.5 m (6.2 and 8.2 ft), long, and can weigh between 80 and 235 kg (176 and 518 lb), although a range between 80 and 150 kg (180 and 330 lb) is more common. Males are generally longer and heavier.

  • Feeding

    The long-beaked common dolphin has a varied diet consisting of small schooling fish, such as sardines, anchovies, or pilchards, and krill and cephalopods. This species may work in groups to herd their prey together. They are able to dive in the water to about 900 ft (280 m) and hold their breath for up to 8 min to catch prey.

  • Life History

    The long-beaked common dolphin has a gestation period of 10 to 11 months typically during spring or autumn.The young and juvenile dolphins coloration and patterns are darker than the adults.Typical interbirth interval ranges from one to three years. In captivity, this dolphin has hybridized with the common bottlenose dolphin. One of the hybrids has been bred back to a bottlenose dolphin, demonstrating such hybrids are fertile. The long-beaked common dolphin can live up to 40 years.

  • Behavior

    Long-beaked common dolphins can live in aggregations of hundreds or even thousands.Within these large groups, smaller subgroups of 10 to 30, related in either sex or age, typically are found. They sometimes associate with other dolphin species, such as pilot whales. They have also been observed bow ridingon baleen whales, and they also bow ride on boats. Breaching behavior and aerial acrobatics are common with this species.