Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

The Atlantic spotted dolphin is found all around the warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the North American coast, the species occurs in the waters off Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. The dolphin rarely moves more than 350 km (220 miles) from the coast, and it spends most of its time in shallow water over sand banks, including those in the Bahamas.

Adults of this species have a spotted pattern. These spots are not present at birth, but appear after weaning. The number of spots increases with age.

Spotted dolphins are very social animals. They live in pods that range in size from just a few individuals to groups of several thousand that mass far out to sea. Within large pods, dolphins of different sexes and stages of maturity are often segregated. The dolphins communicate using high-pitched whistles, clicks, cackles and cries, which are within the range of human hearing. Each individual dolphin has its own unique identifying call.

Spotted dolphins feed on eels, herrings and other small fish. They often track shoals of prey, swimming above them just below the surface before diving down to attack as a group.

Distribution: Warm Atlantic waters.

Habitat: Shallow water above continental shelf.

Food: Fish.

Size: 1.6 - 2.3 m (5.25 - 7.5 ft); 90 - 110 kg (198 - 242 lb).

Maturity: 9 years.

Breeding: 1 calf born in summer every 2-3 years.

Life span: 35 years.

Status: Lower risk.