Scientific Name: Delphinus delphis

Malti: Id-denfil komuni

The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is distributed globally, however it is mainly found in enclosed waters such as the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, its population in the Mediterranean Sea has declined, during the last 30-40 years, by around 50%. The various factors that are thought to have contributed to such a decline are mostly related to human impacts, habitat degradation and prey depletion due to extensive over fishing.

The common dolphin is present all year round in some areas, but many populations appear to move seasonally. The adult common dolphin can reach a length of 200-220 cm and a weight of 70-110 Kg and can be identified by its dark cape with a pale yellow and grey hourglass pattern on its sides, the main distinguishing feature of this species. Its flippers, flukes and fin are predominantly dark, and its dorsal fin and beak are quite prominent like the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

The common dolphin is highly active, and frequently breaches (when the dolphin launches itself headfirst into the air, then falls back down, often with a splash), lobtails (when the dolphin lifts its tail fin out of the water and brings it down forcefully to slap the water surface with a splash), flipper-slaps (when a dolphin slaps the water with its flipper or tail fin) and bow-rides (when the dolphin swims or ‘rides’ the crests of the ocean waves).