White Beaked Dolphin Facts
- The White Beaked Dolphin was first recognized as separate species in 1846, by the famous taxonomist John Edward Gray. It was, in fact, one of the first known species in its genus.
- A great deal of mystery still surrounds this endearing ocean creature, however. Marine biologists know almost nothing about either the life expectancy or breeding patterns of the animal.
- The animal’s numbers appear stable for the moment, yet many consider them at risk due to the effects of climate change on their specific habitat.
White Beaked Dolphin Physical Description
The mammal represents a medium-sized species of dolphin – it attains a maximum length of approximately 10 ft (3.1 m) and may weigh as much as 780 lb (354 kg). The cetacean also has the longest flippers of any known dolphin.
The upper body and flanks typically display a dark gray, with patches of lighter gray. The underside is a light gray or off-white.
The beak is typically white, hence the name, though it may grow darker with age. That same beak also “measures up” relatively short, in comparison to other dolphins.
The calves are born with several whiskers on their upper lip, but these disappear as they mature.
Species: L. albirostris
White Beaked Dolphin Distribution and Ecology
They inhabit the upper layers of the ocean and normally stay at depths of less than 3,300 ft (1,000 m). This dolphin is quite social, and usually, travels in groups of 8-10 individuals.
Their diet primarily consists of small fish and includes haddock and cod. People have seen them even feeding alongside orcas.
It is an especially relevant fact that the species is now protected by the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS).