Rough-Toothed Dolphin

Steno bredanensis


The name of the Rough-Toothed Dolphin gets attention, and it makes people curious about it. This particular dolphin looks very different from the other species. It has a reptile look to it that is very pre-historic. They have wrinkles as well as ridges that are on their teeth. They have teeth on the upper and lower jaws, and each of the four sections can have from 19 to 28 teeth.

Class Mammalia
Subclass Eutheria
Order Cetacea
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Delphinidae
Genus Steno
Conservation status Least Concern

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Description

Compared to other species of dolphins, this one has a very narrow beak. They can weigh up to 350 pounds and grow as long as 8 ½ feet. They have a small head and they are one of the few species without the crease of the melon on the head. They also have a dorsal fin located on the back that is longer and wider than what you see on the other species.

The pectoral fins are also longer on the Rough-Toothed Dolphin than most species. They are dark gray in color and they feature white around the throat and the lips. They have lighter gray areas on the flake. It is common for them to have spots on the belly. Many of them are found with bite marks on the body from confrontations with sharks. The scars tend to turn white in time and that can cause the white patches on their skin to be noticed.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Distribution

They live in the deeper bodies of the water which makes them far less visible to the human eye than for other species of dolphins. They live in areas that are warm and tropical and they are also found in oceans. The biggest population of these dolphins resides in the Eastern Pacific area.

They have been identified though as living in cooler temperatures if they need to do so in order to find enough food. They usually stay about ½ mile from the coastal lines though. They will stay in deeper waters around the Gulf of Mexico and Hawaii.


Rough-Toothed Dolphin Behavior

They are shy creatures compared to other dolphins, and they will rarely be willing to get close enough to a human for interacting. In studies of them in the wild where there are researches in a given location frequently they still don’t come around. This has made it hard to learn much about the behaviors of the Rough-Toothed Dolphin though. They are known to be very social though within their pods that usually have from 10 to 20 members.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Feeding

The main source of food for these dolphins comes from fish but they will also eat plenty of squid and octopus. They work as a team to find their food and to circle around it so that they can dive in and consume it. They can stay under the water for up to 15 minutes and dive up to 230 feet to find food.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Reproduction

For the Rough-Toothed Dolphins, mating doesn’t occur until they are much older than it does for other species. It can be 10 years for the females and 14 years for the males. This is a big problem when it comes to trying to increase their numbers in the wild as it takes a great deal of time for the young to be old enough to mate.

There doesn’t seem to be a set mating season for them to take part in. The young are born fluke first and they can be up to 39 inches in length when they are born. They consume milk from the mother that allows them to gain weight fast. She will introduce them to fish around 6 months of age but continue to give them milk until they are about 2 years old. In the wild they can live from 32 to 36 years.

Rough-Toothed Dolphin Conservation Status and Threats

While there are about 150,000 Rough-Toothed Dolphins in the wild, there are conservation efforts in place. They can easily get caught in fishing nets which results in serious injuries or death. Fishermen have been encouraged to change the equipment they use to help prevent such tragedies from occurring. However, not all of those entities have the money to invest in better resources.

There are also locations out there where this dolphin is being hunted so that the meat can be consumed. It is considered to be a part of villager survival in some locations. If there are sticker laws in place to ban it, then those people will suffer so finding a better way to help them out has to be found.

Pollution continues to be a huge factor when it comes to the survival of the Rough- Toothed Dolphin. They can ingest poison, swallow plastic, and the various forms of pollution can certainly cause skin damage to them. Noise pollution has also become an issue in areas where boating is allowed to take place.


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