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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin Stenella longirostris

Graceful, energetic, and highly acrobatic, this dolphin gets its name from its habit of leaping out of the water and then spinning around up to seven times before splashing back into the sea. Smaller than many other oceanic dolphins, it is dark gray with white on its underside—the white varies from a small patch to a wide zone extending from its head almost to its tail. It has up to 64 pairs of teeth in each jaw, and it feeds on fish, often far out to sea. Females give birth to a single calf, suckling it for up to two years.


Spinner dolphins are sociable, swimming in groups that range in size from less than 50 to several thousand and often traveling with other species. These dolphins and their close relatives often swim in large groups above shoals of yellowfin tuna, and thousands are drowned every year in purse-seine nets, which are intended to catch tuna but trap other marine life indiscriminately.

Long-snouted Spinner Dolphinzoom image
  • Order Cetacea
  • Length 4–7 ft (1.3–2.1 m)
  • Weight Up to 165 lb (75 kg)
  • Habitat Open oceans
  • Distribution Tropical and subtropical waters worldwide
Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin Habitat Mapzoom image