|The Mammals of Texas -
Cetacea : Family Delphinidae : Delphinus
Description. This is a small, slender
dolphin with a long, well defined beak. Average length is
2.1 m with a maximum of about 2.6 m. Weight may be up to
135 kg. Coloration is distinctive. The back is
brownish-gray to black and the belly is white. A
crisscross, or "hourglass" pattern of light
gray, yellow, or tan bands occurs on the sides and a
black stripe extends from the lower jaw to the flipper.
The rostrum is black with a white tip and the eyes are
set in a black, circular patch from which black lines run
forward to the base of the snout. Although varying in
extent between individuals, the black dorsal coloration
extends down the sides below the dorsal fin giving the
impression of a saddle.
Distribution in Texas. Worldwide
in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters.
Known in Texas on the basis of a single animal that
stranded at Galveston.
Habits. These are highly social,
deep water dolphins; groups contain 20 to several hundred
members but huge concentrations numbering into the
hundreds of thousands have been observed. They commonly
travel above submarine ridges where they dive to feed on
squid and fishes including lantern fish, anchovies, and
Breeding appears to have seasonal peaks
in spring and fall. The period of gestation is 10-11
months. Newborns are about a meter long and sexual
maturity is reached at approximately 3 years of age.
Illustration credit: Pieter