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Common Dolphin - Delphinus delphis (short beaked) and Delphinus capensus (long beaked)
Photo by Shane Anderson

Common dolphins can be split into two groups long and short beaked. Both groups are found throughout the world’s oceans and share similar behavioral characteristics such as jumping and surfing the bow waves of vessels. However, the long beaked dolphins are more commonly seen near coastal areas, such as Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Both forms have a dark gray dorsal surface with a lighter hourglass pattern on their sides, and white undersides.

Common Dolphin
(Delphinus delphis (short beaked) and Delphinus capensus (long beaked))

Both temperate and tropical seas world wide

Open ocean and near shore, especially around oceanic and coastal islands.

Fish, squid, and occasionally octopus


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
Common dolphins are one of the most numerous cetaceans in the world, with a population that is estimated to be over one million.

Learn More
- Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network