Spinner DolphinPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Stenella longirostris

The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. This species is famous for its acrobatic displays. That is, these dolphins spin longitudinally along their axis as they leap through the air.

These marine mammals are dark gray, with darker patches in the tail stock, back and throat. Usually they have a creamy-white patch on the belly. However, this varies considerably. Their beak is distinctively long and thin, with a dark tip. Meanwhile, the fins are lengthy for dolphins of this size. It’s dorsal fin is erect and even leans forward in some older males.

Spinners congregate in groups that vary from just a few dolphins to great schools numbering in the thousands. They are consistently acrobatic and keen bow-riders. However, no one knows why they spin. Some have suggested that the great cauldron of bubbles created on exit and re-entry may act as a target for echolocation by other individuals in the school. On the other hand, they may simply spin as a form of play. Individuals have been spotted completing at least 14 spinning jumps in quick succession.

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