Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus
« Database Home Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetacea Delphinidae Lagenorhynchus acutus
Description & Behavior
Atlantic white-sided dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus (Gray, 1828), get their name from the Greek lagenos, which means bottle, rhynchus, which means snout or nose, and acutus from Latin, which means sharp or pointed and refers to their sharply-pointed dorsal fins. These dolphins ranges from 2.5-3 m in length. Their pectoral fins are about 30 cm in length and their dorsal fins may be up to 50 cm in height. Their tail flukes range from 30-60 cm across. Females may be considerably smaller than males and average only 182 kg.
The dorsal (upper) region of L. acutus is black, their flanks are gray, and their ventral (under/belly) surface is white. This dolphin's distinguishing characteristic is the yellow-white patches on their dorsal side and the black rings around their eyes. L. acutus have stocky bodies with sickle-shaped fins. Their beaks are prominent and contain 30-40 pairs of pointed teeth.
Male longevity is about 22 years, female longevity is about 27 years.
World Range & Habitat
Atlantic white-sided dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, are found in the temperate and subarctic waters of the north Atlantic Ocean from southern Greenland to Massachusetts, and from the British Isles to western Norway. Some have been spotted as far south as the Barents Sea, Baltic Sea, Azores, and the Adriatic Sea.
Atlantic white-sided dolphins inhabit open water that is typically 40-270 m in depth over continental shelves and is rarely seen from shore. This species is typically found in waters with low-salinity and surface temperatures between 6-20°C and they migrate seasonally along continental slopes.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
Male Atlantic white-sided dolphins, Lagenorhynchus acutus, are sexually mature when they are between 2.1-2.4 m in length, females between 1.94-2.22 m or about 6-12 years of age. Calves are usually born in June and July following a gestation period of about 10 months and measure 1.1-1.2 m in length and average about 25 kg. Females nurse for about 18 months and give birth every 2-3 years.
Conservation Status & Comments
Exact data on the population size of Lagenorhynchus acutus is unavailable but the species is thought to be abundant. Their primary threats, in addition to natural predation, are ocean pollution and entanglement in fishing gear.
References & Further Research
Jefferson, T.A., S. Leatherwood, and M.A. Webber, FAO species identification guide, Marine mammals of the world, Rome, FAO. 1993. 320 p. 587 figs.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS)
Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation
Research Lagenorhynchus acutus » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
Feedback & Citation
Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!
Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life
Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences.
With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.