Spinner Dolphin

Spinner dolphins are truly oceanic animals. They roam through all the world’s oceans, mainly staying in the warmer regions. They seldom come close to land and are only really seen from ships or around remote islands. Perhaps the best place to see spinner dolphins is from the deck of a fishing ship in the Pacific tuna fisheries off the west coast of South America.

Spinners often track large shoals of yellowfin and skipjack tuna, swimming at the surface several meters above the fish. Tuna fishermen keep an eye out for groups of spinners (and similar dolphins) to lead them to the tuna. As a result, spinner dolphins are often caught and drowned in nets intended for tuna.

These dolphins are famous for leaping put of the water and spinning their body round in mid-air. Spinner dolphins that live near to land are slightly different from those that spend their time in deep ocean waters. Biologists have detected at least four subspecies, which have varying coloration and differently shaped dorsal fins.

Spinner dolphins live in pods of about 20 dolphins, but are also reported to gather together in groups of more than 1,000 from time to time. Members of a pod are organized into a dominance hierarchy.

Distribution: Tropical waters worldwide.

Habitat: Open water.

Food: Fish and squid.

Size: 1.8 - 2.1 m (6 - 7 ft); 55 - 75 kg (121 - 165 lb).

Maturity: 10 years.

Breeding: 1 calf born every 2 - 3 years.

Life span: 35 years.

Status: Lower risk.