Different Types of Dolphins

There are many different types of dolphins in Australia.

Dolphins are a kind of whales.


They belong to the group of toothed whales, which eat larger prey than baleen whales that filter-feed small food such as plankton, crustatians and small fish.

Dolphins with Heads Out of Water, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia
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Another difference is that dolphins don't migrate long distances between their winter breeding and summer feeding grounds. Being smaller, they can leap out of water more than large whales, and they can be kept in captivity.
We know therefore more about them, although large whales seem to be just about as friendly to us as are dolphins. There are also some facts about dolphins, like what do dolphins eat, endangered dolphins, dolphins echolocation, dolphin intelligence, and the types of dolphins found in Australia.

Dolphins, Sea World, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
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Different Types of Dolphins - Common Dolphin

Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is a small, max 2.5 metres long whale weighing up to 110kg. It has got black back, white belly and yellow patterns on both sides. It eats fish and marine invertebrates, and it breaches, leaps, lobtails, bow-rides and slaps flippers and chin. Common Dolphins form large schools and strandings are common. Common Dolphin is found along all coasts around Australia, and its status is secure.

Long-Beaked Common Dolphins, Delphinus Capensis, Leaping and Swimming
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Different Types of Dolphins - Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is the largest of all dolphins, weighing up to 650kg and growing almost 4m long. It has got a blue-grey back and a white belly, dark flippers and a dorsal fin. Bottlenose dolphin eats fish, cephalopods and other invertebrates. Its surface behaviour includes breaching, lobtiles, blow-rides and body surf. Bottlenose dolphins are very friendly animals, they seek out boats and swimmers and feed behind trawlers. They live in small groups with complex social systems, and they sometimes strand. Bottlenose Dolphin is found along all coasts in Australia, and its status is secure.

Bottlenose Dolphin
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Different Types of Dolphins - Australian Snubfin Dolphin
Australian Snubfin Dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) is a tropical dolphin that is found along the coast of north Australia between Brisbane in east and Broome in west. It likes shallow estuaries and it eats fish and possibly squid and crustatians. It has got a dark brown back, white belly, rounded dorsal fin and large flippers. It moves slowly, but it breaches and lobtails, and makes horizontal leaps. It takes three quick breaths between dives, which last about one minute.

Bottlenose Dolphin
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Different Types of Dolphins - Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin

Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is also a slow-swimming dolphin. It is found mainly in tropical waters, but also further south, between Newcastle in New South Wales and Geraldton in Western Australia. It is brownish grey above and white under belly, up to 2.5m long and can weigh up to 200kg. It surfaces about once in a minute, breaches, lobtails and spyhops. Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin is often found near the coast and it eats fish, particularly schooling fish. It strands occasionally and its status is secure.

Group of Striped Dolphins Swimming, Strait of Gibraltar, Costa De La Luz, Spain
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Different Types of Dolphins - Striped Dolphin

Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) is a max 3m long dolphin that weighs up to 150kg. It has got a grey back, pinkish white belly, dark flippers and a dark stripe from eye to flipper. Striped Dolphin lives in large pods and is an active dolphin. It breaches and leaps high above the surface. It tail-spins, it sometimes bow rides, and it strands occasionally. Its status is secure and it is found along all the coasts of Australia except the southern coast between Esperance in west, and Victoria - New South Wales border in east.

Striped Dolphins, Porpoising, Azores, Portugal
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Different Types of Dolphins - Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin

Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin, up to 2m long and weighs up to 75kg. It is dark grey above and white under the belly. It has got long flippers, and a stripe from eye to flipper. Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin is known for its surface displays – it spins, twists and bow-rides. It lives in large pods, eats fish and cephalopods and breaches, clearing surface by up to 3m. There are no records of its strandings in Australia. Its status is secure and it is found along the northern coast between Geraldton in west and Coffs Harbour in east.

Long-Snouted Spinner Dolphin, Pair, Brazil
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Wild Dolphin Watch

Dolphins can be seen year around in coastal waters in Australia. You can see them in shallow bays and river mouths, and even headlands and beaches in big cities. Wild dolphins come to shore to be hand-fed on Moreton Island in Queensland (outside Brisbane) and in Monkey Mia in Shark Bay in Western Australia, where you can join the daily feedings with a group of tourists, it's fun.

Dolphins, Sea World, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
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Swim with Dolphin Tours

Tour operators also take you to watch and swim with dolphins – it is a lot of fun. Dolphins don’t ignore you in the water, they will swim around you and play with you. There are many tour operators around the coasts of Australia, but some most famous places for dolphin watch are Jervis Bay and Byron Bay in New South Wales, and Bunbury in the south-western WA.






















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