Short-Beaked Common Dolphin

Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) as seen in our Oregon Coast exhibit.

This animal is not part of an Aquarium exhibit, but is rather a native species which lives along the Oregon Coast.

Although not as well known as similar species, the Short-Beaked Common Dolphin is the one most likely to be seen in Oregon waters. Their appearance is highly distinctive and has made them a favorite subject of artists going as far back as the ancient Minoans. The animal is light gray along its back but has a V-shaped swath of color starting just below the dorsal fin. A band of pale yellow extends toward the eye with a white ventral patch underneath. This gives the dolphin a beautiful tri-color look which becomes brighter as the animal matures. 

Like all dolphins and porpoises, the Short-Beaked Common Dolphin shares a genetic and natural history with much larger whale species like Orcas, Grays and Humpbacks. It‘s one of the smaller species in Oregon waters, with a typical adult measuring about 9 feet (2.7 m) in length and calves being born at about 3 feet (0.9 m). A highly social animal, these dolphins often congregate in large pods, sometimes numbering in the thousands. 

The Long-Beaked Common Dolphin is another species of the common dolphin. 

Range and Habitat: 

The dolphin prefers tropical and cool temperate waters along the continental shelf and in the open ocean. It is common in the waters off California, Oregon and Washington. 

Conservation Status: 

Common. All whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

PHOTO: Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.