The common dolphin throughout history has often been recorded in art and literature. It was recently proposed that two forms of this species, the short- beaked (delphis) and long-beaked (capensis) common dolphin, represent two distinct species.
The Common Dolphin In Detail :
- PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Common dolphins are colorful, with a complex crisscross or hourglass color pattern on the side; the long-beaked common dolphin being more muted in color. When looking at the profile of the two common dolphin species, the short-beaked common dolphin has a more rounded melon that meets the beak at a sharp angle, as compared to the long-beaked common dolphin that has a flatter melon that meets the beak at a more gradual angle.
- COLOUR Color patterns on the common dolphin are the most elaborate of any cetacean. The back is dark gray-to-black from the top of the head to the tail dipping to a V on the sides below the dorsal fin. The flanks are light gray behind the dorsal fin and yellowish-tan forward of the dorsal fin, forming an hourglass pattern. Its belly is white. There are large dark circles around the eyes connected by a dark line that runs across the head behind the beak and a black stripe runs from the jaw to the flippers.
- FINS AND FLUKES The dorsal fin is triangular-to-falcate (curved). It is pointed and located near the middle of the back and is black-to-light gray in color with a black border. The flippers are long and thin and slightly curved or pointed depending on geographical location. Flukes are thin and pointed at the tips with a slight notch in the center.
- LENGTH AND WEIGHT Common dolphins can reach lengths of 7.5 to 8.5 feet (2.3-2.6 m) and weigh as much as 297 lb. (135kg). The short-beaked common dolphin is relatively heavier, and has a larger dorsal fin and flippers than the long-beaked one.
- FEEDING Delphinus delphis feeds on squid and small schooling fish. In some parts of the world, they feed at night on the deep scattering layer, which moves towards the water’s surface during that time. Common dolphins have been seen working together to herd fish into tight balls. Like many other dolphin species, the common dolphin will sometimes take advantage of human fishing activities (such as trawling), feeding on fish escaping from the nets or discarded by the fishermen.