The Beacon

Video: Pacific White-Sided Dolphin Delights Onlookers with Acrobatics

A Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). (Photo: Michele W / Flickr Creative Commons)

Any time you spot a marine mammal in the wild is a special occurrence—simply from observing a dolphin at the beach or kayaking alongside a manatee—but sometimes, they put on a really good show for you too.

Late last month, a Pacific white-sided dolphin delighted boaters in the Puget Sound when it leaped from the water multiple times.  As enjoyable as it is for people to see dolphins jumping, they’re not always doing it for show—they often do it to help propel them to swim faster, or to communicate, find prey, and do social displays.

Pacific white-sided dolphins have short beaks, unusually large, curved dorsal fins, and white undersides for which they’re named. They’re found in pelagic water in the Pacific, from the South Bering Sea to the U.S. West Coast, so commercial gillnets and trawls used in these waters are some of their main threats. Known to travel in schools of up to thousands of dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins are highly playful and social animals, so the type of acrobatics observed in this video is not uncommon.

Take a look below to see a Pacific white-sided dolphin in action:

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