Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Scientific Name:
Stenella frontalis
2.3 m (7.5 ft)
140 kg (310 lbs)
data deficient
Small schooling fish, squid and benthic invertebrates

Physical characteristics

The coloration varies enormously depending on age; Calves have a grey colour; Juveniles have dark spots on the belly, and white spots on the flanks; the back and the dorsal fin are a darker grey than the rest of body. As the animal matures the spots become denser and spread until the body appears black with white spots at full maturation.

Behavioral characterization

Is a fast swimmer and keen to bow-ride. Also shows acrobatic aerial displays.


Endemic to the temperate and tropical areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Widely observed in the western end of the Gulf Stream, between Florida and Bermuda, but also present in the Gulf of Mexico.

Population size




Migration/Dispersal patterns

A seasonal migration can be observed, but the patterns are not known.

Social system/Group size

Usually in groups of 5 - 15; larger groups when feeding, sometimes mixed with common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and even large tunas.

Major threats

They are hunted in the Caribbean, the Azores and West Africa. Underwater noise is known to cause stress and disorientation.

Research efforts


Fun fact

About 20 years ago, there were only about 80 dolphins in the Bahamas. Now, there are almost 200 dolphins.