Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)
The striped dolphin is a cetacean (marine mammal fully adapted to life in water) that has a fusiform (elongated) body, ending in a muscular caudal fin, with a dorsal fin and two pectorals fins. They are larger than common dolphins, reaching 2.5 m in length and exceeding 100 kg in weight. They are dark in the dorsal part and white in the ventral part, being most distinctive the 3 lists (longitudinal lines) that start from their eye run along their flanks, giving name to the species.
Where does it live?
It is considered a cosmopolitan species, since it is found in temperate and tropical waters around the world. It is an abundant species in the Mediterranean Sea, especially in the western basin. Although it is an eminently pelagic species, on the Mediterranean coast they can be observed at a depth of about 100-200 m (about 10 nautical miles from the coast).
How does it live?
They are gregarious animals that form herds ranging from about 20 to more than 100 specimens, sometimes formed by adults only, others by young and others mixed. They have organized hunting systems that allow them to capture various species of fish and cephalopods.
Female pregnancy lasts around 12 months and their young suckle for approximately a year.
Where can we see it in the Malaga province?
It is not easy to see them from the shore because they do not usually get very close to the coast Like all cetaceans of its size, it is a species exposed to interaction with fishing, food shortages, ocean pollution, diseases and other factors that affect the mortality of individuals.
It is an abundant species, so it is not considered as threatened. However, it is considered in the national and Andalusian catalogs as Insufficiently known, in addition to being included in the Habitats directive and other international treaties. It should be noted that this species has suffered several morbilivirus epidemics that have significantly damaged its populations on the Mediterranean coast.
They can easily be mistaken with common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) if we do not carefully observe the colour of the flanks. The 3 lists that are born from the eyes will give the striped dolphin away, while the hourglass in the side area will indicate the presence of a common dolphin.