Hourglass Dolphin


Hourglass Dolphin


Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Lagenorhynchus
Species: L. cruciger    (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824)

Taxonomic Notes: Animals with slight size and color variations are wrongly referred to as Lagenorhynchus wilsoni and are called Wilson’s hourglass dolphins.

The hourglass dolphin resides in a little-traveled part of the circumpolar regions of the Antarctic. As with some other cetaceans that live their entire lives in remote areas, study of the animal is difficult, and little is known about it.

Physical Description: They have a stocky body with a small but well-developed rostrum.

Color: The black on the rostrum extends dorsally to the tips of the flukes. The lower flanks, including the flippers and flukes are also black. The ventral region is white from the chin to the caudal peduncle. The dark dorsal and ventral areas extend and touch the flanks just below the dorsal fin creating a unique hourglass shape.

Fins and Flukes: Very tall, prominent, falcate dorsal fin. The long, curved flippers are pointed at their tips. The well-defined flukes are lightly rounded at the tips, with a median notch.

Length and Weight: Little is known definitively, but a 5.25 ft (1.6 m) male and a 6 ft (1.8 m) female have been recorded. The female weighed 250 lb (114 kg).

Teeth: About 28 small, conical teeth are found in each side of the upper and lower jaws.

Feeding: No information available, but probably small fish and squid, among other things.

Breathing and Diving: They have a smooth, undulating motion when swimming, much like a group of penguins.

Mating and Breeding: No information available.

Herding: Groups of 2 to 4 seem normal, but one herd of about 40 was sighted.

Distribution: This is a pelagic species found in the temperate waters of the South Atlantic and South Pacific oceans.

Migration: No information is available.

Natural History Notes: These animals are known to ride bow waves, making fast, high leaps as they approach ships.



Hourglass Dolphin Distribution2

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