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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Striped Dolphin
Order Cetacea : Family Delphinidae : Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen)

Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba).  Illustration by Pieter A. Folkens.Description. A slender dolphin that reaches lengths of about 2.4 m and averages 100 kg in weight. Maximum size is approximately 3 m in length and 129 kg in weight. Strikingly colored in shades of gray or brown. Dark dorsally fading to lighter sides and white ventrally with black stripes extending from the eye to the anus and from the eye to the flipper. Dorsal fin tall, beak relatively short and uniformly dark. There are 43-50 teeth in each side of both jaws, average total is 200. Only Stenella longirostris has more average total teeth (224).

Distribution in Texas. Worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. Although they are occasionally seen in the western Gulf of Mexico near Texas, and have stranded on Texas beaches, these dolphins are better known from waters around Florida.

Habits. Striped dolphins may be observed in herds of several hundred to several thousand with such groups usually segregated by sex and age. In the Gulf of Mexico group size ranges from one to 130 and averages 16 dolphins per group. They are usually found in deep, offshore waters where they feed on small pelagic fishes, squid, and shrimp.

Adult females bear young once every 3 years and the gestation period is 12 months. Calves are approximately a meter long at birth. In the Gulf of Mexico, calves have been seen in June, August, October, and February, indicating that there may not be a sharply defined breeding season. Males reach maturity at about 9 years of age and females at 7 years.

Illustration credit: Pieter A. Folkens.