Dusky Dolphins Facts!

A wild dusky dolphin named "Nox".

Dusky Dolphins Facts!

A wild dusky dolphin named “Nox”. Image credit: AllenMcC. cc3.0

Originally named Fitzroy’s dolphin by Charles Darwin in honor of the captain of the Beagle, the dusky dolphin is a very social animal, not frightened of humans and often coming close to boats to bow-ride (ride the pressure waves off the bow of a boat). It is a very fast swimmer, able to reach speeds of 23 miles (37 kilometers) per hour.

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). New Zealand. Photographer: Dr. Mridula Srinivasan, NOAA/NMFS/OST/AMD. By NOAA Photo Library cc2.0

The dusky dolphin differs from other dolphins because of its evenly sloped head and its lack of a prominent beak. It is the smallest species of dolphin, only about 6 to 6.5 feet (1.8 to 2 meters) long and weighing under 220 pounds (100 kilograms).


A pod of dusky dolphins under a boat bow. Image credit: anoldent CC BY-SA 2.0

Pod sizes vary depending on the subspecies, and may consist of as few as two to more than a thousand members, but the average seems to be about a hundred. They communicate with each other by squealing, clicking, whistling or squeaking, and their sounds can be heard almost 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away when they are made out of the water. Communication is very important for them as they get together and coordinate to herd large schools of fish. Since they feed from as deep as over 410 feet (125 meters) all the way up to the surface, they have plenty of opportunities to gather food, and they know how to adapt their foraging strategies depending on the situation.

Dusky Dolphins are featured in the following books:
25 Whales, Dolphins and other Sea Mammals
Dolphins! Early Reader Book
101 Facts… Dolphins!

The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about Dusky Dolphins. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Dusky Dolphins and Bull Sperm Whales – Benedict Cumberbatch narrates [easyazon-link asin=”B002BEXDXO” locale=”us”]Wild Pacific[/easyazon-link] – BBC
  2. Dusky Dolphins – Animal Ocean by Steve Benjamin
  3. Dusky Dolphin Encounter by James Taylor
  4. Dusky Dolphin encounter by MountainBreez
  5. Our Dusky Dolphin Adventure by Deathst4lker


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