Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Dusky Dolphin
Dusky Dolphin
Range Coastal Waters of the Southern Hemisphere.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Delphinidae
Genus Lagenorhynchus
Species Lagenorhynchus Obscurus
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Dusky Dolphin is a specie from the Lagenorhynchus genus. It is found in coastal waters in the Southern Hemisphere.


A Mostly Black and White Dolphin with a few shades of gray mixxed in.

Ecology and behaviour[]

Dusky dolphins prefer cool, upwelling waters, as well as cold currents. They largely live in inshore waters and can be found up to the outer continental shelf and in similar zones in offshore islands. They can move over great distances (around 780 km), but have no well-defined seasonal migrations. However, dolphins off Argentina and New Zealand make inshore and offshore seasonal and diurnal movements. In Argentina, dusky dolphins associate closely with southern right whales and South American sea lions. They have been found around bottlenose dolphins, but apparently do not interact with them, and may share feeding areas with Risso's dolphins. They also associate with various seabirds, such as kelp gulls, cormorants, terns, shearwaters, petrels, and albatrosses. In New Zealand, dusky dolphins mingle with common dolphins. Dusky dolphins have also been observed with southern right whale dolphins and pilot whales off southwestern Africa.

Vocalisations and echolocation[]

In general, three different types of sounds are produced by dolphins (and other toothed whales). These are click trains, which are made of numerous individual clicks, usually broadband signals that change from low value to high value quickly, burst pulses, which are individual clicks with high repetition and can be heard by humans only as a buzzing sound, and whistles, which are signals that are pure-tones and whose frequency varies depending on the time. Dusky dolphins produce all three sounds, but most commonly make burst pulses. Whistling is more common when dusky dolphins mingle with other dolphin species such as common dolphins. Their echolocation signals are broadband and of short duration, much like those other whistle-producing toothed whales. They tend to have bimodal frequency spectra which peak between 40 and 50 kHz at low frequency and between 80 and 110 kHz at high frequency. The species' echolocation signals are about 9–12 dB lower than for the larger white-beaked dolphin.


Fish, and Squids(anchovies, lantern fish, pilchards, sculpins, hakes, horse mackerel, hoki, and red cod)


18-25 years


New Zealand Dusky Dolphin

Dusky dolphins at Kaikoura, New Zealand


  • The Dusky Dolphin and the Pacific white sided dolphin are phylogenetically related species.
  • Dusky Dolphins can be found of the coast of South America, New Zealand, and South Africa.