Striped dolphin

Stenella coeruleoalba

1.8 - 2.5m



Dorsal fin

Striped dolphins are similar in size and shape to common dolphins and often form mixed pods with this species. They have a diagnostic pale blaze visible above the water even when slow swimming and a dark upper beak.

Key features: 

  • Slender beak with a dark stripe from eye to pectoral fin 
  • Dark central dorsal fin 
  • White blaze from the eye towards the dorsal fin. Dark blaze from the dorsal fin towards the eye 
  • Highly social energetic swimmers 


Striped dolphins are highly energetic, fast and acrobatic, often breaching, spinning, somersaulting, bow and wake riding. They typically travel in groups of 20 - 30 animals, however, sometimes larger groups of up to 500 can be seen. Striped dolphins often form mixed with short-beaked common dolphin. 


The striped dolphin is subject to similar threats to the common dolphin, including entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, collisions with vessels, decrease in available prey and habitat degradation. In some areas, particularly in Japan, the striped dolphin is subject to hunting. In the 1990's, over 1000 dolphins died in the Mediterranean Sea from a disease, morbillivirus, which could have been triggered by pollution and lack of available prey.


Striped dolphins can be found worldwide, in tropical and temperate waters. It is believed that there are geographically semi-isolated populations across the world. It is one of the most abundant dolphin species in the European Atlantic and seen more frequently offshore.

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