Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

Atlantic white-sided Dolphin

Atlantic white-sided Dolphin

Image Credit and License: Anna, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin. Image (c) Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphins - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphins - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphins. Image (c) Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin - Adrian Shephard

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin. Image (c) Adrian Shephard

Atlantic white-sided dolphin swimming.jp

Atlantic white-sided dolphin swimming.jp

Image Credit and License: Tim Pierce, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Taxonomy

Scientific name: Lagenorhynchus acutus 

Order: Artiodactyla (Cetacea)
Family: Delphinidae 
Genus: Lagenorhynchus

 

IUCN status

Least Concern

 

Other names

Lag
Springer
Jumper

 

Appearance

Atlantic White-sided dolphins are large and robust dolphins with a thick tail stock that can grow to 1.9-2.8m in length.


They have a blackish to grey upper body and are whitish underneath.  Identification is aided by pale grey and black flank bands, and a well defined white blaze on the flank beneath the dorsal fin with yellow/mustard blaze behind this on the tail stock.

They have a very short beak with black upperside and a tall dark falcate fin.

 

Habitat and distribution

Found in cool temperate and cold waters of the North Atlantic, where it shows a preference for shelf slopes, seamounts and canyons.

Population estimates range from 100,000 to 300,000 individuals.

 

Behaviour

Atlantic White-sided Dolphins are known to be shy, but are capable of performing leaps into the air. They are usually found in pods of between two to 50 animals, but much larger groups (of up to 1,000) have been spotted where they have found dense concentrations of food. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are fast swimmers and will occasionally bow-ride.

 

Confusion with other species

Atlantic white-sided dolphins can often be confused with other species of dolphins.
Here's what to look for:
White-beaked dolphin – does not have yellow or white stripes and is larger. 
Common dolphin - smaller and has an hourglass pattern.

 

Threats

The main threats to Atlantic white-sided dolphins include entanglement in fishing gear, pollution and habitat degradation.

 

Interesting facts

Historically these dolphins were hunted for food in Norway and Eastern Canada.  They are still hunted in the Faroe Islands where an estimated 150-750 are killed each year in small whale drives.