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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Rough-toothed Dolphin
Order Cetacea : Family Delphinidae : Steno bredanensis (Lesson)

Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis).  Illustraton by Pieter A. Folkens.Description. A small, grayish-black dolphin with the forehead rising gradually from the beak; 20-27 fairly large teeth in each toothrow, the crowns of which have many fine, vertical wrinkles (from which feature the name rough-toothed dolphin is derived); length of rostrum of skull about three times its width. Total length, 2-2.5 m; weight, 100-135 kg.

Distribution in Texas. Tropical and warm temperate waters of the world. In the western North Atlantic they are sparsely distributed from Virginia to the northeastern coast of South America. Known in Texas on the basis of two strandings near Galveston.

Habits. Little is known about the life history of these dolphins. They occasionally travel in groups of 50 or more, but smaller groups are normal. They are probably good echolocators and are easily trained.

A mass stranding of these dolphins occurred on the upper Gulf coast of Florida in May, 1961. Sixteen of these dolphins ran aground in a shallow, marshy area but the cause was never determined.

Food habits are almost unknown. They are known to eat octopus, squid, and fish. Nothing is known about their reproductive habits; in captivity, they have mated with bottlenose dolphins and produced hybrid offspring.

Illustration credit: Pieter A. Folkens.