Common dolphin

ORDER: CETACEA

SUBORDER: ODONTOCETI

FAMILY: DELPHINIDAE

GENDER: DELPHINUS

SPECIES: Delphinus Delphis (Linnaeus 1758)

Delfino comune, short beaked common dolphin, delfìn comun, dauphin comun, Gemeiner Delphin

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The adult  of the common dolphin reaches 2.5 meters in length and a weight of 75kg. The coloration is variable: his back and sides are black or blackish, his belly and chest are of cream color, with a range of shades of yellow, gray and white along the sides and belly. A typical dark inverted triangle is recognizable more or less by the dorsal fin and a black ring stretching forward around the eye.  The common dolphin swims fast making big jumps, managing to dive quite deeply (280 meters) lasting underwater for over 8 minutes. The common dolphin use both pelagic and coastal habitats, often in association with stripe and bottlenose dolphins. It feeds on mesopelagic epipelagic fish. In fact, the stomach contents of stranded individuals in the Ligurian and Mediterranean Sea confirm that its diet is mainly based on surfacing blue fish, but also on cephalopods and crustaceans.

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In the coastal waters on the east side of  the Ionian Sea their main prey are anchovies and sardines and on  the Ischia Island waters, the common dolphin was seen preying mainly costaredella (Atlantic saury). It’s widely distributed in the temperate and tropical waters of all oceans, however, the population of the Mediterranean, in recent decades, has suffered a dramatic decline, disappearing from the Balearic Sea, the Provencal Basin, from the Ligurian and the Adriatic Sea. It remains present on isolated communities both in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea (island of Ischia) and the Ionio Sea. In October 2003, the Mediterranean common dolphin population was listed as endangered on the Red List of Endangered Species (redlist.org) and  the Ischia waters have been define "critical habitat" for the species.