Tricks to recognize a Heaviside’s dolphin

CHARACTERISTICS  OF A HEAVISIDE’S DOLPHIN

Length adult

A small animal, reaching a maximum body length of only 1.75m. There is little obvious difference in size between the sexes.

Appearance

Heaviside’s dolphin can be readily distinguished by its low, almost triangular dorsal fin.

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Colour

The coloration of Heaviside’s dolphin is unmistakable: largely grey with blackish cape, white trident-shaped ventral patch with finger-shaped marks on both sides of lower rear body.

Dorsal fin

Triangular and pointed, dark.

The dorsal fin has an overall triangular shape, but the leading edge tend to be slightly convex and longer than the trailing edge, which may be slightly concave.

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Head

Cone shaped head with indistinct beak

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Group Size

Typical group size up to 10

Behaviour

Shy and rarely active or boisterous, though sometimes porpoises at high speed.

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Aerial activity and social interactions are more prevalent in the larger groups.  While inshore in the early morning, these dolphins seem to favour areas with high surf activity, where they may spend time riding the waves inshore and leaping out of the back as they break.

Seasonality

Present year round

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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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