Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Cetacea · Delphinidae · Delphinus delphis

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
Teacher Resources
About the Site
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

* PDF reader
available here

(opens in a new window)

Delphinus delphis

Short-beaked Common Dolphin

Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae

Image of Delphinus delphis
Click to enlarge this image. (41 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Short-beaked Common Dolphins are found in tropical and temperate ocean waters and in some seas. School of fewer than ten - and of several thousand - have been reported. They eat both squid and fish. Calves, which are less than a meter long at birth, are usually born in the spring and summer after a gestation that is thought to last 10-11 months. In most members of the family Delphinidae - the dolphins - calves begin to eat solid food at about 4-6 months, but may continue to nurse as long as two years. The Delphinidae is a very large and diverse family of cetaceans, however, and much remains to be learned about the life styles of its members.

Also known as:

Common Dolphin, Short-beaked Saddleback Dolphin

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are 5% larger than females.


Range: 1.7-2.2 m males; 1.6-2.2 m females


Range: up to 110 kg


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tenth Edition, Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 1:77, 824 pp.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Delphinus delphis

Image of Delphinus delphis
Click to enlarge this image. (245kb)

Skull of Delphinus delphis
Click to enlarge this image. (28kb)

end of text