Dolphins in Los Cabos | Common Dolphins
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Short-beaked and Long-beaked Common Dolphins

and Short Beaked Common Dolphin

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Long-beaked common dolphins are relatively small dolphins that can reach lengths of 6-8.5 ft (1.9-2.6 m) and weigh 160-500 lbs (80-235 kg). Males are slightly larger than females.

Long-beaked common dolphins have a rounded melon, moderately long beak, and a sleek but robust body with a tall, pointy, "falcate" dorsal fin located in the middle of the back. This species can be identified by its distinct bright contrasting coloration patterns. There is a dull yellow/tan thoracic panel between the dark cape and white ventral patch forward of the dorsal fin. The bold coloration forms a crisscrossing hourglass pattern below the dark saddle, and a lighter gray area extends up to the tail stock. Narrow dark stripes extend from the lower jaw to the flipper and from the eye to the anal area. The coloration and patterns of young and juvenile dolphins are muted and darker.

The short-beaked common dolphin is another species of common dolphin that appears very similar to the long-beaked common dolphin. Both species are within the same genus, Delphinus, and in some their distribution overlaps in the waters around Los Cabos. The two species differ slightly in physical size, features, coloration, and pattern and Short-beaked common dolphins generally prefer deeper and cooler waters farther from the coast.

Long-beaked common dolphins are usually found in large social groups averaging from 100-500 animals, but have been occasionally seen in larger herds of thousands of individuals, particularly in the fall and early spring around Los Cabos. These large schools are thought to consist of smaller sub-groups of 10-30 animals that are possibly related or separated by age and/or sex.

These gregarious, energetic dolphins are commonly seen swimming rapidly, "breaching", "porpoising", and frequently engaging in other surface active behavior. They will often approach boats to "bowride" for long periods of time.

Long-beaked common dolphins are capable of diving to at least 900 ft (280 m) and holding their breath for up to 8 minutes to feed on prey. The majority of their diet consists of small schooling fish (e.g., anchovies, hake, pilchards, and sardines), krill and cephalopods (e.g., squid). Dolphin groups may work together to herd schools of prey. This species has 47-67 pairs of small sharp conical teeth in each jaw used for grasping prey.

Long-beaked common dolphins become sexually mature at around 6.5 ft (2 m) in length (Jefferson et al. 2008). Breeding usually takes place between the spring and autumn, followed by a 10-11 month gestation period. Females give birth to a single calf that is about 2.5-3 ft (0.8-1 m) long and weighs about 20 lbs (10 kg), and have an estimated calving interval of 1-3 years. These dolphins have an estimated lifespan of approximately 40 years.

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