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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis

The common dolphin is beautifully marked with a complex pattern of colored bands and has inspired artists since classical times. Its markings are extremely variable—so much so that experts differ on whether it is a single species or several. Often seen in large groups, the common dolphin is highly active and acrobatic, and is among the fastest swimmers of all cetaceans, with a top speed of about 25 mph (40 km/h).

Common dolphins usually feed far out to sea, where they prey on squid and small fish. Adult females give birth every 2–3 years, producing up to five calves during their lives. The common dolphin is one of the most common cetaceans and has a global population estimated at several million. However, like other oceanic dolphins, it is threatened by both the expansion of fishing and deliberate hunting.

Oceana works to protect marine mammals such as the common dolphin from being caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries.

Common Dolphinzoom image
Common Dolphinzoom image
Common Dolphinzoom image
  • Order Cetacea
  • Length 5–8 ft (1.7–2.4 m)
  • Weight Up to 240 lb (110 kg)
  • Habitat Coastal waters, open oceans
  • Distribution Temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters worldwide
Common Dolphin habitat mapzoom image