Striped Dolphin

Stenella coeruleoalba

Suborder : Odontoceti

Family : Delphinidae

Habitat : Pelagic zone

Medium lenght :   2m

Average weight :   100 kg

Description

It is possible to spot this species of dolphin in Malta in pelagic waters.  The Striped dolphin is the most widespread species in the Mediterranean sea. It has a long and  thin rostrum (beak) well distinct from the melon (head)
It has a particular colouration with different areas: black back, showy stripes on the sides. A broad oblique pale stripe, from the thorax to almost the dorsal fin. Other small blackish stripes circle the eyes and run to the anus and the base of the pectoral fin. The underside is white. It feeds on fish and cephalopods and lives in pelagic areas.

It’s possible to sight the Striped dolphins from afar thanks to the splashes due to the acrobatics jumps they do on the water surface. They are small dolphins that can reach 40 km of speed. It’s possible to encounter them in groups of hundreds. Very energetic and curious, they like to play with the bow wave of the boats doing the so-called Bow Riding.

From IUCN Red List  Recent genetic work suggests that the genus Stenella is paraphyletic, and it is likely that the Delphininae will be restructured in coming years. This species might move to a different genus (LeDuc et al. 1999). t shows a preference for highly productive, open waters beyond the continental shelf. It is particularly abundant in the Ligurian Sea, the Gulf of Lions, the waters between the Balearic Islands and the Iberian Peninsula, and the Alborán Sea. In the Ligurian Sea, this species showed no preference for any specific physiographic features but was almost homogeneously distributed (Azzellino et al. 2008).