Peale’s Dolphin


Peale's Dolphin

Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Lagenorhynchus
Species: L. australis   (Peale, 1848)

As is true for many cetaceans inhabiting remote parts of the Southern Hemisphere, observation and good photographs of Peale’s dolphins are more rare than for other species. A limited number of specimens are available, and little is known about its external characteristics and behavior.

Physical Description: Very similar to the Pacific white-sided dolphin.

Color: The dorsal region is black from the forehead to the anus; a barely discernible beak is black from the eyes to the tip of the snout. The sides of the upper chin are black. The throat is white. The flanks are light gray with black flippers. A distinct light-gray-to-white demarcation from the eyes to the flippers ends at the flanks just behind the dorsal fin. The dorsal region is dark from the beak to and including the flukes. A sharp defined white patch in the peduncle region stretches forward to just below the dorsal fin, where a continuing white line runs into the dark region, up to the blowhole, then fades.

Fins and Flukes: The large dorsal fin is well defined and falcate. The small flippers are thin and pointed. The flukes are very well developed and pointed at their tips, with a median notch.

Length and Weight: This animal reaches 7 ft (2.1 m) and about 300 lb (136 kg).

Teeth: There are 30 small, conical teeth in each side of the upper and lower jaws.

Feeding: One specimen had octopus remains in its stomach, although it can be presumed that they feed on a variety of small fish as well.

Breathing and Diving: Little information is available, except that in the Falkland Islands they are avid bow-wave riders and are curious of divers.

Mating and Breeding: Little is known. Calves were observed in the Chilean Strait of Magellan in January and February of 1984. They had adult color patterns with slightly muted tones.

Herding: The herds average 30 but can exceed 100, broken into groups of 3 to 10. Peale’s dolphins have been observed playing in surf waves with Risso’s dolphins.

Distribution: Temperate waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans off southern South America and the Falkland Islands.

Migration: No information is available.

Natural History Notes: While the animals are known to ride bow waves, they seem to enjoy playing near vessels as long as the vessel remains near kelp beds.



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