Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
Scientific name: Lagenorhynchus acutus
Order: Artiodactyla (Cetacea)
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.
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.
The main threats to Atlantic white-sided dolphins include entanglement in fishing gear, pollution and habitat degradation.
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.