Peale's dolphin

Peale's dolphin (Lagenorhynchus australis) is a small dolphin found in the waters around Tierra del Fuego at the foot of South America. It is also commonly known as the black-chinned dolphin or even Peale's black-chinned dolphin. However, since Rice's work Peale's dolphin has been adopted as the standard common name.

The back is largely black with a single off-white stripe running curving and thickened as it runs down the back on each side. The belly is white. Conspicuously, also a white patch occurs under just behind each flippers. These are known as the "armpits". The flanks also have a large white-grey patch above the flipper. The dorsal fin is large for this size cetacean and distinctively falcated. The flippers themselves are small and pointed. The tail fin, too, has pointed tips, as well as a notch at its middle.

The species looks similar to the dusky dolphin when viewed at a distance, and may be confused with it.

Peale's dolphin
  • Size

    Peale's dolphin is of typical size in its family — about 1 m in length at birth and 2.1 m (6.9 ft) when fully mature. Its adult weight is about 115 kg.

  • Feeding

    Most delphinids primarily eat fish, along with a smaller number of squid and small crustaceans, but some species specialise in eating squid, or, in the case of the killer whale, also eat marine mammals and birds.

  • Life History

    Gestation lasts from 10 to 12 months, and results in the birth of a single calf.

  • Behavior

    Peale's dolphins congregate in small groups — usually about five in number, and sometimes up to 20. On rare occasions in summer and autumn, much larger groups have been recorded (100 individuals). They usually swim slowly, but are prone to bursts of activity.