Tricks to recognize a Dusky Dolphin

Dusky dolphins are unlikely to be confused with Heaviside’s dolphins but can be easily distinguished from them by their recurved dorsal fin.

Length adult

1,8 -2m. There’s a little difference in size between the sexes.

20130425_B-IMG_0052 (SElwen)



Black to dark grey dorsally, prominent whitish blaze on sides of tailstock, white ventrally, whitish grey thoracic patch.

Dorsal fin

Tall pointed dorsal fin with paler edge. The centrally-placed dorsal fin is erect and hooked. In adult males the fin is more curved, has a broader base and a greater surface area than in adult females.

Pectoral fin

Narrow and pointy

20160224_6D_HB_IMG_6873 (SSA - Simon Elwen).jpg


Short, blunt and dark-tipped beak. The head slopes gently to a small snout, which is well differentiated laterally from the head by shallow grooves but almost imperceptibly in the mid-line.


Fast and active swimmer, highly acrobatic, high jumps. They exhibit some of the most spectacular aerial behaviour of any cetacean in the subregion.

20160205_6D_HB_IMG_5470 (SSA - Simon Elwen).jpg

Group size

Usually  in groups of 20 to 50 individuals.



Present year round

20160205_6D_HB_IMG_5296 (SSA - Simon Elwen).jpg


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About seasearchafrica

The Sea Search group is a collective of scientists and students with a strong academic background in the area of marine mammal science. Our primary focus is the production of peer-reviewed scientific research and student training. We also provide specialist consultancy services and work with industry and government to promote conservation through effective management.

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