Frequently, we get asked, “What is the size of a common dolphin?” To answer the question, it’s important to know that the term “Common dolphin” is a scientific one that technically includes two species of the genus Delphinus: the short-beaked common dolphin (D. delphis) and the long-beaked common dolphin (D. capensis). Both species are found in most temperate and tropical oceans.
Common dolphins are noted for their colorful body patterns and fast swimming (sometimes over 40 km/hr). The size of a common dolphin is considered “medium” and is smaller than the bottlenose. Common dolphin length averages 5 to 8 ft, with weight from 160 to 297 lbs. Males are generally longer and heavier than females.
They are significantly smaller in size at birth: The length of common newborns (calves) is 30 to 36 inches.
Here at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, our Winter the Dolphin is a Bottlenose dolphin, different from the common dolphin. Adult bottlenose dolphins range in length from 8 to 12 feet and weigh between 330 and 1400 lbs. Those in colder waters tend to have more body fat, and males are on average significantly larger than females. (At 253 lbs, Winter is just short of sexual maturity, while her surrogate mother Panama tips the scales at 473 lbs.)
There are 33 types of marine dolphin and CMA star Winter and friends are all bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates). These are the cetaceans you’ll see swimming most often along the US coastline. You’ll also find them performing at marine parks, because they tend to be more flexible in behavior than the common dolphin.
Have you had a chance to see dolphins performing at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, or other aquariums? What was your favorite experience? Why don’t you share and leave us a comment?