Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Pacific White-sided Dolphin

>>>>Pacific White-sided Dolphin

Pacific White-sided Dolphin

Pacific White-sided Dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens


Pacific white-sided dolphins are medium sized dolphins reaching up to 2.5 m in length. They are considered robust animals, with a large and strongly falcate (curved or hooked) dorsal fin. They have a small and unnoticeable beak, unlike bottlenose or common dolphins. Pacific white-sided dolphins have a distinct color pattern: they are dark gray or black on their back, sides and belly but have a striking large gray or off-white patch on both sides.

Pacific white-sided dolphins are found in cold, temperate waters of the North Pacific Ocean from North America to Asia. They become most abundant in shallow, shelf waters off southern California from November to April and then off BC, Oregon and Washington in May. This change in geographic distribution leads scientists to suspect the population is migrating seasonally from the south to the north in the eastern North Pacific.

Although not much is known, it is thought that female Pacific white-sided dolphins give birth every other year and gestation lasts about twelve months. Newborn calves are about 3 feet (0.9 m) in length. Calves nurse at least six months and most births occur from April to August. Scientists estimate the population for the eastern North Pacific range from 26,000 to 100,000 individuals.

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