Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spinner Dolphin

Spinner Dolphins are small cetaceans that can be found throughout the tropical waters of the world. They have slender bodies, and generally do not exceed seven feet. Spinner Dolphins weigh 130-170lbs. The external appearance of these animals is dictated by their location and subspecies. Overall though, they come in shades of gray with white bellies.

(Image Source)
It is difficult to generalize the Spinner Dolphin because the habitats and behaviors of the different subspecies vary. Hawaiian and Costa Rican Spinners, for example, tend to live in coastal areas, while most other populations are far more pelagic. The Hawaiian Dolphins also tend to live in groups that number in the hundreds, while others congregate in the thousands. Many Spinner pods travel with other cetacean groups, including Humpback Whales and Spotted Dolphins. Their tendency to coexist with other sea creatures had led to some problems. In the East Pacific, Spinner Dolphins sometimes travel with Yellowfin Tuna, which has resulted in many dolphin deaths as the Tuna are fished up.

But lets move on to less sad things. Like jumping! Spinner Dolphins are so named because of their amazing acrobatics. They can do as many as fourteen leaps in a row, and are able to jump and spin on their body axis. It is believed that these antics serve as a form of communication and as a method of removing parasites.

Spinner Dolphins reach sexual maturity at around age seven, and females calve roughly every three years. Spinners feed off of small fish and squid, and they are preyed upon by sharks and larger cetaceans. The aforementioned Tuna fishing has damaged their Pacific populations since the 1960s. Spinner Dolphins do very well in captivity, and can be found in several aquariums.

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