Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

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Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

The Pacific white-sided dolphin is a species of dolphin named in 1865 by Theodore Nicholas Gill. As the name suggests, it is a dolphin found in the North Pacific Ocean and has a light flash down each side which makes it very easy to identify, even from a distance.

Pacific white-sided dolphins have very distinctive markings which set them apart from any other species of dolphin. Their chins, throats and bellies are all white in color with dark grey beaks, flippers, backs and fins. The patch on their side is not actually white, but light grey. They have dark grey rings around both eyes.

Pacific white-sided dolphins are average in weight and length. They measure between 7 and 8 feet in length and can weigh anything from 330 lb to 440 lb when they are fully grown. As with most dolphin species, the males tend to be longer and heavier than the females. The life expectancy of a pacific white-sided dolphin in the wild is around 40 years. Females become fertile after about 7 years and have a gestation period of 12 months. They only usually give birth to one calf at a time but over the course of a lifetime, a female Pacific white-sided dolphin can give birth to more than 10 calves.

It is very common for pacific white-sided dolphins to live in groups of up to 100 individual dolphins and groups of 300 – 500 have been recorded but are less common. They are seen all throughout the northern part of the Pacific Ocean but sightings below the South China Sea or Baja California are extremely rare. They seem to prefer living in deep seas all year round, even when mating and breeding. They hunt in groups, feeding mainly on fish such as: hake, anchovies, herring, cod and salmon. They have over 60 teeth although they only use them to grasp food, holding it still before they swallow it whole.

Conservationists are not at all worried about the numbers of Pacific white-sided dolphins globally. They are not being threatened by any natural predators and their preference for deeper waters means that they are less affected by pollution and coastal fishing. It is estimated that there are around 1 million Pacific white-sided dolphins living across the whole of the North Pacific Ocean today, meaning that there is absolutely no need for concern over their welfare.

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Pacific White-Sided Dolphin


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