Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin -- Cetacean Info at Whale Songs
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Stenella longirostris

DISCOVERED: Gray, 1828

COMMON NAME: Long-Snouted Spinner Dolphin


* Costa Rican form is found only in a narrow band of water less than 95 miles (150 km) wide off western Central America
* The eastern form is found from the tip of Baja California, Mexico, south to the equator and offshore to about 125 degrees
* Two or more varieties may occur in the same area
* Distribution in the Atlantic is poorly known


* Slender body
* Long, slender beak
* Long, pointed flippers
* Tall, erect fin
* Dark-tipped beak
* 3-toned color pattern
* Gently sloping forehead



* Occur in warm temperate waters, but mainly tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans
* Most common far out to sea, especially in the eastern tropical Pacific
* Also found close to shore, for example off southeastern USA and around some islands
* Hawaiian form seems to rest inshore by day and move to feed offshore at night


* Mainly mesopelagic fish, and epipelagic and mesopelagic squid


* Costa Rican spinner is the largest form, with males about 2.2m and females about 2.1m


* Performs high, spinning leaps
* Usually lives in large schools
* When breaching, hurls itself up to 9 3\4 ft. (3m) into the air, spins around on its longitudinal axis up to 7 times in a single leap
* Readily bow-rides in most areas, but much more nervous in eastern tropical Pacific
* Rarely approaches boats in the Lesser Antilles, Caribbean
* Large schools often churn water into a foam when swimming


* The major threat to the spinner dolphin is the large catches over many years in the eastern tropical Pacific tuna fishery
* Small cetacean fisheries elsewhere in the range are known to take at least some spinner dolphins, for example in the Solomon Islands, Japan and St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles
* There is also concern about threats to habitat at Fernando de Noronha Island off Brazil where tourist development may adversely affect a resident spinner dolphin population which uses the shallow bays to rest during the day