The Habitat of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins

By Naomi Millburn

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Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) are smallish aquatic mammals that are members of the family Delphinidae. These solidly built, grayish-purple dolphins are hard to miss thanks to their many tiny gray or white speckles, which are dispersed all over their backs and on the edges of their physiques. Another oft-used name for the species is bridled dolphin.

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Basic Information

Atlantic spotted dolphins typically weigh in the ballpark of 220 and 315 pounds. They're usually between 5 and 7.5 feet in length, as well. Although the blotting of the species' body is one of its most prominent features, it is nonexistent in the youngsters. The more mature Atlantic spotted dolphins get, the more defined and dense their speckles appear. The general diet of these dolphins is made up of squid, octopus and teeny fishes such as flounder, herring and eels. They are usually spotted in units of between six and 10 specimens, and occasionally even bigger ones than that.

Natural Habitat

For the most part, Atlantic spotted dolphins are continental shelf residents, not far away from coastal locales. Some individuals, however, live at greater depths of the ocean, particularly when in areas that are surrounding islands. They gravitate to both temperature and tropical H20 environments. Atlantic spotted dolphins that live close to the coast are not uncommon in shallow waters. They also occasionally occupy tidal flats that feature ample sand, but zero plants.

Geography

The species lives exclusively within the Atlantic Ocean, encompassing the waters around South America to those around the northeastern United States, Africa and southwestern Europe. Atlantic spotted dolphins have a presence near countries such as Spain, Brazil, Cuba, Gambia, Senegal, Belize, Mexico, Venezuela, Portugal, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, French Guiana, Mauritania, Angola and many others.

Risks of the Species' Population

Some dolphins' major population risks are associated with ruination of their natural habitats, often due to human development and landfills. These are not the most prominent risk factors for Atlantic spotted dolphins, however. Some of the biggest concerns for these dolphins as a species are unintentional trappings by fishermen, notes the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As far as the species' official population status with regard to possible future endangerment, the IUCN determined in 2012 that there is not enough information on the subject to produce an accurate evaluation. The fish harvesting industry contributes to many fatalities in Atlantic spotted dolphins.

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