Species Description Stenella longirosrtis, spinner dolphins are relatively small,
reaching lengths of 6 to 7 feet (2 m) and weighing approximately
130 to 170 pounds (59-77 kg) at adulthood. They have long, slender snouts or beaks. There
is a great deal of color variation depending on the region.
Spinner dolphins are best
known for their above-water displays of leaping and spinning several times on
their body long axis. Leaps can often be done in a series with as many as 14
leaps in a row. Spinner dolphins are sometimes found in associations with
bottlenose dolphins or humpback whales in Hawaii, which may benefit one or both
Mating and calving occurs
year-round, with gestation similar to that of most dolphins, around eleven
months. Multiple males may mate with one female in short, consecutive
intervals. Lactation often takes place for two years, but can also last for
only one year. Calving intervals average three years. Maturity occurs at around
7 years of age and maximum longevity is 20 years.
Spinner dolphins often
occur in groups of several hundred to several thousand animals. They are
considered quite gregarious, often schooling in large groups and with other
dolphin species, such as spotted dolphins.
Spinner dolphins feed
primarily at night on mid-water fishes and deep-water squid, while resting for
most of the daylight hours.
Habitat The Hawaii
population has a more coastal distribution. The animals rest in bays and
protected areas during the day and then fuse into larger groups to feed in
deeper water on fish and squid at night.
Distribution The species
can be found in all tropical and subtropical oceans.