The term common dolphin tends to refer to the short-beaked common dolphin and the long-beaked common dolphin that are found in warmer seas worldwide. The common dolphin is generally found around the Mediterranean Sea but are also commonly seen in deep offshore waters and to a lesser extent over continental shelves that are preferred to shallower waters.
Some populations of dolphin may be present all year round, others appear to move in a migratory pattern. Common dolphins travel in groups of around 10-50 in number and frequently gather into schools numbering 100 to 2000 individuals.
These schools are generally very active socially with groups often surfacing, jumping and splashing together. Typical dolphin behavior includes breaching, tail-slapping, chin-slapping, bow-riding and proposing.
Common dolphins are among the fastest swimming marine mammals, with some possibly reaching speeds of over 40 km/h. Dolphins have been known to use both their speed and large group sizes to develop different ways of hunting prey.
Dolphins range in size from the 1.7 m (5.6 ft) long and 50 kg (110lb) Maui’s dolphin to the 9.5 m (31 ft) and 10 t (11 short tons) Killer Whale. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in that the males are larger than females. They have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers.
Though not quite as flexible as seals, some dolphins can travel at 55.5 km/h (34.5 mph). Dolphins use their conical shaped teeth to capture fast moving prey.
They have well-developed hearing which is adapted for both air and water and is so well developed that some can survive even if they are blind. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water.
Keywords to learn
Extent: the particular degree to which something is or is believed to be the case.
Acute: highly developed; keen.
Hey Kids, my name is Dana the Dolphin and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
Key Dolphin Data:
- Lifespan:20 – 45 years.
- Scientific Name:Delphinus Delphis.
- Mass:100kg – 300kg. (220lbs – 660lbs)
- Length:2m – 4m. (6.5ft – 13ft)
- Region found:Seas worldwide.
- Population Status:Threatened.
- Current population trend:Unknown.
- Sexual maturity:5-13 years.
The dolphin is a very intelligent mammal, and also very friendly. It’s one of the friendliest of the species to humans. There are wild dolphins and there are dolphins that are kept in zoo’s like sea world, that are trained for entertainment shows.
Now that you know more about the dolphin by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the dolphin here: (answers are on this page)
Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on the dolphin. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets
Dolphin Fun Facts for Kids:
- # 1. Because dolphins are mammals, they need to come to the surface of the water to breathe. Unlike land mammals that breathe and eat through their mouths, dolphins have separate holes for each task. Dolphins eat through their mouths and breathe through their blowholes. This prevents the dolphin from sucking up water into the lungs when hunting, reducing the risk of drowning.
- # 2. Fish, squid and crustaceans are included in their list of prey. A 260-pound dolphin eats about 33 pounds of fish a day.
- # 3. Known for their playful behavior, dolphins are highly intelligent. They are as smart as apes, and the evolution of their larger brains is surprisingly similar to humans.
- # 4. Dolphins have acute eyesight both in and out of the water. They hear frequencies 10 times the upper limit of adult humans. Their sense of touch is well-developed, but they have no sense of smell.
- # 5. Dolphins have few natural enemies. Humans are their main threat. Pollution, fishing and hunting mean some dolphin species have an uncertain future. In 2006, the Yangtze River Dolphin was named functionally extinct.
- # 1. What two dolphins does the term common dolphin refer to?
- # 2. What speeds can dolphins reach?
- # 3. What is the average lifespan of the dolphin?
- # 4. Why do dolphins breathe through their blowhole and not their mouth?
- # 5. What dolphin was named functionally extinct in 2006?