Steno bredanensis   (G. Cuvier in Lesson,  1828) (Dolphin)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Size: Length 2.4 m

Weight: 150 kg

Color: Rough-toothed dolphins are variable in coloration, but are generally dark grey to purplish-black above. This color forms a narrow cape or band of varying width along the back and tail stock. These dolphins are white or sometimes pink below. The body has many light colored blotches. The lips and often the lower jaw may be white or flecked with white.

This is a slender dolphin. Its forehead and the sides of the head slope smoothly onto a long and slender beak, making the entire body in front of the flippers appear very long and nearly conical. There is no prominent melon and no crease between the beak and forehead, unlike many other dolphins. The flippers are moderately long. The dorsal fin is relatively tall and sickle-shaped.

The eyes are large and bulging.The number of teeth in each row (or side of each jaw) is 20 to 27. Unlike the smooth, conical teeth of other dolphins, the crowns of these teeth have fine wrinkles, giving the animal its common name.
This species is believed to prefer waters with surface temperature greater than 25°C.
Schools of several hundreds of Rough-toothed dolphins have been reported, but little is known about the habits of this species. Captive specimens have proved themselves to be very creative in inventing tricks.
Small groups of these dolphins have been noted skimming-swimming quickly for long periods with the snout near the surface, with the dorsal fin exposed continuously.

Synonym (s)
Delphinorhynchus bredanensis Lesson, 1828
Delphinus (Steno) perspicillatus Peters, 1876
Delphinus bredanensis G. Cuvier in Lesson, 1828
Delphinus chamissonis Wiegmann, in Schreber & Wagner, 1846
Delphinus compressus Gray, 1846
Delphinus frontatus Cuvier, 1823
Delphinus oxyrhynchus Gray, 1850
Delphinus planiceps Van Breda, 1829
Delphinus reinwardtii Schlegel, 1841
Delphinus rostratus Desmarest, 1817
Steno bradanensis (Lesson, 1828)
(Spelling mistake)
Steno frontatus Blyth, 1863
Steno perspicillatus True, 1889
Steno rostratus Lutken, 1889

Common Name (s)
• Rough Toothed Dolphin (English)
• Long Beaked Dolphin (English)
• Black Porpoise (English)
• Steno (English)
• Roughtooth Dolphin
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Demersal, Coastal
Prey:  Octopus, squid and fish
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Coast INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Palk Bay INDIA
• INDIA (Record: 1800-2000)

Literature Source(s)
  • Agarwal, VC and Alfred, JRB (1999) Handbook: Whales, dolphins and dugong from Indian seas ZSI, Calcutta 150 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Alfred, JRB; Das, AK and Sanyal, AK (Eds.) (1998) Faunal diversity in India ZSI, Calcutta 1-497 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Kumaran, PL (2002) Marine mammal research in India: A review and critique of the methods Current Science Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore 83(10) 1210-1220 Available at -
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Van Waerebeek, K; Gallagher, M; Baldwin, R; Papastavrou, V and Samira, MAL (1999) Morphology and distribution of the spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris, rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis and melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra, from waters off the Sultanate of Oman Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 1(2) 167-177
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • MarineBio Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Padmanaban P and Dinesh K.P (2011) A checklist of Marine Mammals of India Marine Biology Reginal centre, Zoological Survey of India 4pp Available at -
  • Jefferson, TA; Leatherwood, S and Webber, MA (2006) Marine mammals of the world World biodiversity database Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-11-07

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