Scientific Name: Lagenorhynchus obscurus
Colour: Grey, Blue, Black, White
Life Span: 18 - 25 years
Location: Across the southern hemisphere
Predator: Killer Whales, Sharks, Humans
Prey: Anchovies, Sardines, Squid
Group: Marine mammal
Size (L): 1.6m - 2.1m (5ft - 7ft)
Weight: 80kg - 120kg (176lbs - 264lbs)
Top Speed: 37kph (23mph)
Habitat: Cooler waters near continental shelves
Fun Fact: Communicates using
Dusky Dolphin Classification and Evolution
The Dusky Dolphin is a small species of dolphin that is found inhabiting the cooler waters along continental shelves throughout the southern hemisphere. This distinctive looking cetacean is closely related to other large marine animals including other dolphins, porpoises and whales but despite their fish-like appearance Dusky Dolphins are true mammals that both breathe air in and out of their lungs and also suckle their young on milk produced by the mother's mammary glands. Dusky Dolphins are widespread throughout the southern hemisphere with three species being recognised that have been grouped by their geographical range, with one found off the coast of South America, one near South Africa and in the Indian Ocean and another inhabits deeper waters close to New Zealand. Sadly however, despite being locally common in certain areas Dusky Dolphin populations have declined throughout much of their natural range primarily due to threats caused by increasing levels of human activity.
Dusky Dolphin Anatomy and Appearance
The Dusky Dolphin is the smallest of the world's 33 different species of dolphin growing to under two meters in length and generally weighing less than 100kg. Like other species of cetacean, Dusky Dolphins have a smooth and hairless, streamlined body that helps them to glide through the water and is powered by their two tail flukes which lay horizontally rather than vertically like those of fish. The upper-side of their bodies is either dark grey or blue-black in colour and is separated from their light grey to white under-side by a grey line which runs from their beak to the base of their tail. Dusky Dolphins also have two light grey lines which run diagonally from their tail to their dorsal fin which is tall and curved to help them to change direction quickly in the water. The beak of the Dusky Dolphin is black and more rounded in shape than those of other dolphin species and contains between 24 and 36 pairs of sharp, cone-shaped teeth that are ideal for catching slippery and fast-moving prey.