The Pacific Spotted Dolphin is also known as the pantropical spotted dolphin, and it is one of the most abundant species of dolphins in the planet thanks to better fishing methods.
From 40°N to 40°S, Pacific Spotted Dolphins are found in oceans all over the world. They inhabit pelagic and mesopelagic ocean zones at depths of 200 to 700 meters under the sea. In Costa Rica, the Pacific Spotted Dolphin can be spotted at Golfo Dulce, Corcovado National Park, Marino Ballena National Park and Piedras Blancas National Park.
Mating & Reproduction
Spotted Dolhpins reach sexual maturity at around ten years of age for females, but males reach maturity at about twelve years of age. Females produce one young (sometimes they have twins) every two to three years. Calves are generally around 80 to 90 centimeters. The calves will stay with their mother for 12 to 18 months before weaning. They will take much longer to develop into fully matured adults.
Before tuna fishermen started employing dolphin safe tactics for catching the chicken of the sea, Spotted Dolphins were on the endangered list. Since the new dolphin safe practices are in use, Spotted Dolphins have become one of the most abundant species of dolphins found throughout the sea, and they may be observed in groups as large as 1,000 individuals or more. They regularly forage for fish and squid in the epipelagic and mesopelagic ocean zones. Dolphins often wrangle fish into schools in order to feast, and their propensity to stay around tuna is what led to their numbers going down until the 80s.
At the height of the purse-siene fisheries destructive practice of catching and suffocating Spotted Dolphins, the population was cut in half. The numbers have not completely rebounded, but they are much better than they had been previously.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Golfo Dulce, Corcovado National Park, Marino Ballena National Park, Piedras Blancas National Park
Diet: fish, squid
Habitat: epipelagic and mesopelagic ocean zones, river mouths, estuaries
Size: length=2-2 ½ m weight=90-165 kg
Species: Stenella attenuata