Very present in Nosy Be, the pantropical spotted dolphin differs from other species of oceanic dolphins of similar size by its belly and spotted flanks. It is observed in groups ranging from 20 to more than 500 individuals. Like the long-billed dolphin, it is very playful and does not hesitate to come and surf around the boat and perform impressive jumps and spins! It is found in tropical and temperate waters around the world.
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Spotted dolphins stay year round around Nosy Be, so it is possible to see them at each of the outings which take us a little offshore, as during humpback whale outings or during our days or bivouac in Nosy Iranja.
Long-billed dolphins eat a variety of fish as well as squid or crustaceans. When they hunt by grouping schools of fish, spotted dolphins produce bubbles with their vent, which allows both to create a frightening noise for the fish and to trap them in a kind of "net of bubbles". They sometimes hunt with other dolphins, birds or tuna.
The day is divided into three distinct phases - play, rest and reproduction - often on the continental shelf. These phases are linked and repeated until sunset.
Spotted dolphins, like long-billed dolphins, are small dolphins which measure on average 2 meters, and can weigh up to 120kg in adulthood.
When hunting, at a shallow depth for this species, they can stay up to 7 minutes underwater…
Not bad, but nothing compared to other marine mammals like the sperm whale or the elephant seal, which can stay up to 30 minutes underwater and reach dizzying depths of over 1500 meters!
These two cousins are very similar.
However, as their name suggests, spotted dolphins have small spots on the flank and on the belly, which long-billed dolphins do not have. In addition, spotted dolphins have a dark gray flame, which extends from the eye to the dorsal fin.