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Dusky Dolphin

Dusky dolphins are known for their jumping ability. They just might be the most acrobatic dolphins on the planet. They love to leap in the air, sometimes twisting, turning, and flying in groups like dancers in a well-orchestrated ballet performance.

Dusky Dolphin Fun Facts

  • Dusky dolphins are named for their beautiful coloring. Their backs are dark gray to black, while their bellies are white. Their sides are a lighter gray. Their heads are slender and graceful and they look like they’re wearing a dark mask.
  • These dolphins are very social, typically living in groups of 20 to 100; occasionally they swim in larger groups. Over 2,000 dolphins gather off the coast of New Zealand each spring when fish are plentiful.
  • Dusky dolphins have a lot of energy! They are fast, agile swimmers and they jump high in the air. They communicate with each other through their jumps and their sounds, helping each other catch prey.
  • They also socialize with humans and will approach boats and swimmers.
  • Dolphin mothers have a baby every three to four years and nurse their babies for 12 months.
  • Dusky dolphins are smart hunters. They eat many kinds of fish, as well as squid.
  • When fish is plentiful, they hunt during the day near coastlines. When fish is less available, they rest during the day and hunt at night, diving deep into the ocean for squid.
  • Dusky dolphins live in warm waters off the coasts of New Zealand, Australia, Africa, and South America. The largest species lives off the coast of Peru.
  • Dusky dolphins are sometimes caught in fishermen’s nets.


  1. Well-orchestrated: carefully planned
  2. Slender: thin
  3. Agile: quick, graceful

Questions and Answers

How long do dusky dolphins live?

Dusky dolphins can live to 30 years or more in the wild.

Learn More

Watch a video about the Striped dolphins.