Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin

Scientific Name:
Sousa chinensis
male: 2.8 m (9.2 ft); female: 2.6 m (8.5 ft)
280 kg (615 lbs)
Fish (nearshore, estuarine, reef) and squid

Physical characteristics

Has a streamlined body with a long, slender beak and a distinct hump at the base of the dorsal fin. Is colored dark gray on the back and lighter underneath; white and pink variations are possible. Every population differs in shape and color.

Behavioral characterization

Have been seen to breach, lobtail and somersault, but are not known to bow-ride. Sometimes they swim on the side. They are highly vocal with whistles and screams of varying tones and lengths.


South Africa to South China Sea; preference for nearshore waters

Population size




Migration/Dispersal patterns

Varies with population: There is a seasonal inshore-offshore and longshore movement in South Africa with a high level of seasonal migration into Algoa Bay region. They are resident in southern China and northern Queensland waters.

Social system/Group size

South Africa and northern Indian Ocean: groups of 1 - 10; southern China: groups of 3 - 5; may associate with bottlenose dolphins.

Major threats

Entanglement in fishing gear and anti-shark nets and habitat degradation due to urban, industrial and agricultural development are known to have caused several deaths.

Research efforts


Fun fact

The famous "pink dolphins" of Hong Kong bay are Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.