Stenella coeruleoalba - Striped dolphin:

Click Illustration for full-page view Image linked directly from RSPCA - Stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises - 10.A Guide to Identifying Cetacean species most commonly stranded in the UK
Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Cetacea / Delphinidae / Stenella / Species
Alternative Names  
Description Slender dolphin with elongated beak and two black stripes along body: from eye to anus and from eye to flipper (B142, D23).


  • About 100kg (B142).


  • 2.0-2.4m / 6-7ft (D23).
  • Females about 2.0-2.5m; males about 2.05-2.4m (B142).

External Appearance:

  • Body slender torpedo-shape.
  • Beak elongated (to about 13cm), with distinct groove separating beak and forehead.
  • Teeth: sharp, slightly incurved, about 3mm diameter; 45-50 pairs per jaw.
  • Colouration: Dorsal dark grey, brown or bluish grey, flanks lighter grey, abdomen white. Two stripes, one from eye to flippers, second from eye to anal area - short stripe turns down from this towards flippers. White/light grey "V" shaped blaze, from above/behind eye, extending towards tail (sometimes upwards over dorsal surface of tail stock), with point branching off dorsally from in front of dorsal fin to just behind/below dorsal fin.
  • Flippers: tapering, black.
  • Dorsal fin: central along back, slender sickle shape.
  • Tail flukes: dark, have median notch.
  • (B142)
Range and Habitat World-wide, mainly tropical/warm temperate waters. Within north-east Atlantic, mainly offshore west of Spain, Portugal, France; also found in western Mediterranean.

Atlantic and Pacific (B51)

British & Irish waters: rare. Mainly south-west, some further north to west of Scotland. Strandings on Atlantic or Irish sea coasts. No obvious seasonal pattern to sightings.



  • British & Irish waters: No obvious seasonal pattern to sightings.



  • Tropical and temperate waters (B142).
Further Information Food:
  • Fish: e.g. Micrmesistius, Trisopterus, Gadiculus, Merlangius, Merluccius and Trachurus spp.
  • Squid e.g. Chiroteuthis, Loligo, Alloteuthis, Todarodes, Illex and Histioteuthis spp.
  • (B142)

Feeding Behaviour:


  • Extended, variable breeding season; births may be mainly July to September.
  • Gestation about 12-13 months.
  • Lactation 8-20 moths.
  • Calving interval about 1-4 years.
  • Sexual maturity about 9 years.
  • (B142)

Breeding Behaviour:--


  • Fast swimmer (B142).

Social Behaviour:

  • May be found as single animals or groups of up to 30 individuals; larger groups hundreds to low thousands may be seen (B142).

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

General Legislation:

Individual techniques:

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