Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Dolphins

Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)

Description

Striped dolphins are a medium-sized species, ranging in length between 1.8-2.5m (males slightly larger than females) and weighing between 150-160kg. Their most distinct visual characteristic is the comma-shaped stripe on both sides of the body that begins underneath the dorsal fin and tails off towards the head. It has another dark stripe on its white sides that runs from its eye all the way to its belly. Pods are usually found in tight, cohesive groups of about 25-100 individuals and are amongst the most active species when sighted, often displaying marvelous acrobatics such as leaping 7 m above the sea surface. Striped dolphins are also known to regularly approach boats in the Mediterranean Sea as well as mix in with groups of common dolphins.

Habitat

Prefer deep tropical or temperate, off-shore waters. Around Samos, it is more abundant North of the island where the water is deeper, as opposed to the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) that prefer shallower, coastal waters located South of the island.

Diet

Diets on fish, krill and other crustaceans, but in the Mediterranean is mostly eats cephalopods.

Protection Status

The IUCN lists the striped dolphin as a “Vulnerable” species in the Mediterranean Sea, while the global status remains as a “Least Concern.” The primary threats are habitat degradation caused by agricultural pesticides and antifouling paints, water pollution, and commercial fisheries.

Interesting Fact

Striped dolphins display a unique behavior called roto-tailing, when the animal leaps high out of the water and vigorously rotates its tail while airborne.

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