Hourglass Dolphin Facts
- Firstly, the remarkable Hourglass Dolphin is an extremely rare species. In fact, only 6 complete specimens, living or dead, have ever been studied.
- As a result of this rather astonishing fact, scientists have very little reliable physical data about this particular species of cetacean.
- Reasonable, though by no means certain, deductions about its behavior and ecology come from the widely scattered and limited observations in the wild.
- Also, since its population remains unknown, the IUCN lists it as a Species of Least Concern, pending further data.
- Finally, due to the uncertainty about its numbers, all hunting of this animal is thankfully prohibited by international law.
Hourglass Dolphin Physical Description
Most notably, the Hourglass Dolphin represents a relatively small species of cetacean. The average length of the very few individuals studied, who appeared to be adults, was roughly 6 ft (1.8 m).
Also, in color, these beautiful creatures principally appear black, with large white or gray stripes on the sides and stomachs.
The pattern creates the impression of an hourglass, thus the common name. Furthermore, the average weight of this remarkable dolphin equals about 250 lb (113 kg).
Its body shape also seems stout in relation to most of its relatives.
Perhaps (though again, without certainty) sexual dimorphism is present in this species. The males are likely slightly smaller and lighter than the females.
Also unique among dolphins, the length of the dorsal fin varies greatly between individuals.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Delphinidae
- Genus: Lagenorhyncus
- Species: L. cruciger
Hourglass Dolphin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The rather amazing Hourglass Dolphin appears to possess a primarily circumpolar distribution.
The farthest north its has ever been reliably sighted is the southern Atlantic Ocean. Further, most of the sightings occurred in the vicinity of New Zealand.
In the majority of sightings, specimens have been traveling in groups of 5-10 individuals.
The Hourglass Dolphin is also a carnivore by nature and its primary diet appears to be a variety of small fish, squid, and crustaceans.
Its natural predators remain unknown, though the Orca is the most likely candidate for this.
To date, the breeding patterns of this animal and lifespan remain a mystery.