Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spotted Dolphins,facts and photos

These animals are highly social and are sometimes found in herds of thousands, especially in offshore forms, though groups of several hundred are more common. Herds contain both sexes and all ages. Pantropical spotted dolphins are often seen in the company of other dolphin species, particularly spinner dolphins.

Spotted dolphins consist of tropical and subtropical species and are widely distributed in all tropical and warm-temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Stenella attenuata (worldwide) & Stenella frontalis (Atlantic)

CLASS: Mammalia illustration of Atlantic and pantropical spotted dolphins
ORDER: Cetacea
SUBORDER: Odontoceti
FAMILY: Delphinidae
GENUS: Stenella
SPECIES: attenuata (worldwide) &
frontalis (Atlantic)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Spotted dolphins are difficult to describe because their size and coloring vary according to their geographic location. Found only in tropical waters, and subtropical waters, there are two recognized species: the worldwide species, the pantropical spotted dolphin, Stella attenuata and the Atlantic species, Stenella frontalis. The spotted dolphin's body is covered with spots and becomes more densely spotted with age. In the eastern Pacific, coastal forms are the most heavily spotted, while those found in the Hawai'ian Islands and in Japanese waters and the eastern Indian Ocean have moderate spotting. The spotted dolphin has a long slim beak containing 35 to 48 small conical teeth in each side of the upper jaw and 34 to 47 small, conical teeth in each side of the lower jaw.