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Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Atlantic spotted dolphins can be seen all along the East Coast. They’re known for the interesting patterns on their skin.

Fun Facts

  • Atlantic spotted dolphins grow 5 to 7.5 feet long and weigh 220 to 315 pounds.
  • These marine mammals live for 22 to 25 years or more in the wild. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean from New England to South America and Europe to Africa.
  • They live in groups of 5 to 50 dolphins usually; sometimes they live in groups of up to 200 members.
  • Young spotted dolphins don’t have spots, but get them as they grow older. When they’re babies, they look like bottlenose dolphins. The spots begin appearing after they turn one and get darker as they get older.
  • Atlantic spotted dolphins, like many other dolphins, are acrobatic swimmers. They move quickly and can jump high in the air. They follow boats, surfing the waves.
  • Their large heads, or melons, trap sound. They use echolocation to find prey or each other.
  • They eat squid and many kinds of fish.
  • Atlantic spotted dolphins are good hunters. They work together to find and round up prey and they can dive as deep as 200 feet in search of a meal, staying beneath the water’s surface for up to 10 minutes.
  • Atlantic spotted dolphin mothers care for their calves for up to 5 years, longer than most whales and dolphins.
  • They are harmed when they get caught in fishing gear and nets.
  • Noise pollution is another problem. Military and industrial operations, as well as fishing vessels, create a lot of noise in the water, making it hard for the dolphins to find prey.


  1. Melon: the rounded shape of a dolphin’s head
  2. Echolocation: the ability to use sound and echoes to locate objects

Questions and Answers
Question: What can I do to help dolphins?

Answer: If you see dolphins in the ocean, observe them from 30 to 50 feet away and keep your visit short. The more interactions they have with humans, the greater the risk for them.

Learn More

Watch a video about the Striped dolphins.