The Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) belongs to the Delphinidae family. They are usually 5-7.5 ft (1.6-2.3 m) long and weigh about 220-315 lbs (100-143 kg). Interestingly,their average lifespan has not been estimated, although it is general knowledge that they live more than 20 years. They have a robust or chunky body with a tall, “falcate” dorsal fin located midway down their back. The rounded “melon” is separated from the moderately long beak by a distinct crease. The coloration and patterns vary with age, life stage, and geographic location.
They are born without spots, they are dark gray on their backs graduating along their sides to a white belly. At approximately four years of age they begin to get spots. The older adults become so fused with spots their bellies appear almost black with white specks.
Atlantic spotted dolphins are usually found in groups of fewer than 50 individuals, but have been occasionally seen in larger groups of around 200 animals. Since they are mammals, they need to visit the surface often to replenish oxygen. They generally make dives of about 30 ft (10 m) or less for 2-6 minutes, but are capable of reaching depths of 130-200 ft (40-60 m) and have been recorded holding their breath for up to 10 minutes.
They lead very complex social lives. They exhibit numerous social behaviors like companionship, affection, aggression and playfulness. Regardless of the relationship when two dolphin are swimming together they will be in almost constant physical contact with each other.
They have an unique swimming style. It is often described as acrobatic due to their frequent “breaching”, jumping, and other aerial activities at the surface. They are capable of swimming at very fast speeds and often approach vessels to “bowride”.
This species is found only in the Atlantic Ocean, from southern Brazil to the United States (New England) in the west, and to the coast of Africa in the east. They relish warm waters of the Caribbean and are a common sight here. Although they are widespread, their abundance has still not been estimated by official studies, though the general presumption is that their numbers are potentially large.
Although they are sometimes caught in fisherman nets, they are not considered endangered.
Swimming with the Atlantic Spotted dolphin
Because of their tame temper and general appeal for humans, we offer a thrilling opportunity to experience the Spotted dolphin up close as you swim alongside them. They are very responsive and eager to come close to meet you. They are especially playful with kids. Since they have a natural habitat at Bimini, Bahamas, you are bound to meet numerous playful specimen. Your good time is guaranteed.
Check out our information page on Bottlenose Dolphin.