Marine mammals breathe air, like humans, even though they spend most of their lives beneath the surface. Toothed whales are known as "Cetaceans" and include species such as orcas, bottlenose dolphins, porpoises, and pilot whales (just to name a few 🐬). Three species of dolphins are common here in Hawai'ian waters belonging to the genus "Stenella." Spinner Dolphins are scientifically named Stenella longirostris, meaning that they have a long beak/ snout (Gray 1828, Leatherwood & Reeves 1983). Spinner Dolphins flip, spin and jump out of the water along their longitudinal axis and seem like curious, playful creatures to those who encounter them. The picture above shows a juvenile spotted Dolphin jumping out of the water as it travels along the ocean's surface. Typically, the Spinner Dolphins are the least shy out of the three Stenella species. Next, Spotted Dolphins are scientifically named Stenella attenuata, which refers to their sharper beak as tapered. (Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation). Spotted Dolphins are called "leapers" by fisherman because they are often seen leaping, arching their bodies as they jump. Lastly, Striped Dolphins are scientifically knows as Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyer 1833, Reeves et. al 2002). The Latin name refers to the beautiful coloration including sky blue and white stripes (Reeves et. al 2002). Striped Dolphins are confused with the Common Dolphin the most, since both species have striking lines along their body. However, in the Striped Dolphins, a stroke comes up from the side and intrudes into the dark dorsal area, unlike Common Dolphins. All Stenella species travel is large groups called "pods" and can be seen from tens to a few hundred at one time. If you encounter these marine mammals, let them approach you to decrease risk of disturbance.
Photo by 📸 @juansharks
Post by 📝 @d.guerin8