Atlantic White Sided Dolphin

(Lagenorhynchus acutus)

Family: Delphinidae

Species: Lagenorhynchus acutus

Lenght: 2 to 2,5 meters.

Weight: 150 to 200 Kg.

Life expectancy: At least 17 years, likely longer

Description: White sided dolphins are toothed whales, or odontocetes. They most easily identified by the sharply defined, narrow white patch that runs along their flanks beginning below the dorsal fin. The white patch ends abruptly and is continued by a yellow-tan patch that runs towards the flukes. The dolphins' short beak, back, falcate dorsal fin and flippers are black and their ventral sides are white. Like all dolphins, Atlantic white sides have rows of sharp, conical teeth along their upper and lower jaws which they use to catch their prey.   

Diet: squid, variety of pelagic fishes including sand lance, herring, hake and smelt, and occasionally benthic crustaceans.

Behaviour: Gregarious and highly social species that live and travel in groups of 5 to 500 individuals. Atlantic white sided dolphins are a common sight in the waters of the St. Lawrence during the summer, sometimes in pods of over 100 animals leaping and playing. As toothed whales, Atlantic white sides and other dolphins have the ability to use echolocation to find their prey in deep, murky waters. The dolphin emits clicks produced in their sinus cavities and direct them out into the water column through their melon, or forehead, where the sound waves bounce off objects and allow the dolphin to acoustically visualize where its prey is and what kind of fish it is.