Last Reviewed and Updated on February 13, 2023
Dusky dolphins are considered one of the most acrobatic and sociable species of dolphin in the world. With their distinct coloring and playful nature, these animals have captivated people for ages. We will explore some of the most interesting facts about dusky dolphins – from their mating behavior to their diet preferences.
About Dusky Dolphins
Dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) are a species of oceanic dolphins that are most commonly found in the coastal waters in the Southern Hemisphere. Larger populations can be found around South America, SW Africa, and New Zealand.
Dusky dolphins are small to medium dolphins compared to other dolphin species. They have a distinctive appearance, with a black or dark-gray color on the back and a lighter or white belly and throat. Their dorsal fin is distinctively two-toned. They also have a distinct dark grey beak.
These animals feed primarily on small fish and squid.
The conservation status of this species is marked as “least concern,” with steady populations in most of their habitat, although in some locations, they are overexploited. They are protected animals in most of their natural range.
Facts About Dusky Dolphins
If you’re wondering what other amazing things there are to be discovered about these amazing creatures, read these interesting facts about dusky dolphins.
Also read: facts about dolphins
1. These dolphins are the greatest acrobats
Dusky dolphins are known for their impressive acrobatic displays, which often involve leaping, flipping, and surfing the waves. These behaviors are not only a form of play but also a way for the dolphins to communicate and bond with each other.
2. They are promiscuous
Dusky dolphins are promiscuous. When mating, both males and females have multiple partners. This is known as polygynadrous mating.
3. Females prefer fast males
When choosing partners, most animals have preferences, and in many cases, it is the strongest male available that gets to breed. With dusky dolphins, the fastest and most agile males get to mate.
When dusky dolphins mate, the males form mating groups of around ten males; they will pursue the female in high-speed chases. The female may “run” for as long as it takes for only one male (from this group) to remain in the chase.
4. They also mate for no reason
Dusky dolphins also engage in sexual behavior without the purpose of reproduction.
5. Dusky dolphins have a taste for anchovies
They prey on a variety of fish and squid, but anchovies seem to be their favorite.
6. They live in pods from a few members to hundreds
Dusky dolphins live in what is called a fission–fusion society. In fission–fusion societies, the number of group members changes as time passes; during foraging, the size of the group increases, and when these dolphins rest or travel, the size of the group decreases. The pods can have up to a thousand members.
7. They make three types of sounds
Dolphins generally produce three types of sounds; click trains, burst pulses, and whistles. Dusky dolphins produce all three, with burst pulses being the most common one.
Burst pulses are individual clicks with high repetitions, and they can be heard by humans as a buzzing sound.
8. Dusky dolphins have nurseries
When they have calves, the females tend to swim to shallow waters, where they form nursery groups with other nursing females.