Pelagic Dolphins of the North Atlantic
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin has a definite beak and a falcate dorsal fin in the middle of its back. Adults and calves have a 3 color pattern: dark gray dorsal cape, lighter gray zone on the sides that crosses over the back and white belly. The young are not spotted and the individuals we observed had bright pink bellies a feature I have not found described in the two resources I used to write this page. Spotting patterns are variable and increase with age. There may be a white tip to the beak. (1 )
They resemble the Bottlenose Dolphin and on our trip the first call was for Bottlenosed Dolphin before the leaders got a better look and saw the very prominent spotting.
They have been found in shallow and deep water and occur in North Atlantic waters influenced by the Gulf Stream. (1)
A beaked Dolphin with a tall falcate dorsal fin. Like the Spotted Dolphin it has a 3 color pattern: dark gray on the dorsal side, light gray below with a "V" shaped intrusion on the dark gray, and white below. The white area is separated from the light gray by a dark stripe.
Tends to live further north than either the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin , Clymene Dolphin, or Spinner Dolphin. Ranges north to Newfoundland on the east side of the Atlantic and Scotland in the North Sea.
1 2002 Folkens, Pieter Guide to Marine Mammals of the World Alfred A. Knopf, New York
2 2001 Kinze, Carl Christian Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic ; Princeton University Press