Stenella longirostris   (Gray,  1828) (Dolphin)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Image copyrights: Maria Theresa Aquino

Size: New born:75-80 cm long; Adult females: 2 m; Adult male: 2.5 m.

Weight: 75-148 kg.

Color: The back is dark and the belly is white, with a band of immediate pale grey separating the two. There is individual variation and, like the Maharashtra specimens, some may be uniformly dark grey in color. Still others may be grey with a white belly. Most of them have a dark stripe from the eye to the flipper, and dark lips and beak tip.

The Spinner Dolphin is a particularly slender dolphin. Its head slopes gently towards the snout; there is, however, a well defined crease at the junction of the melon and the beak. The dorsal fin is sickle shaped and becomes more erect with age. They have 45-65, or more, sharply-pointed teeth in each row. This is the largest number of teeth found in any cetacean.

This species gets its name from its habit of leaping out of water and spinning longitudinally. Individuals have been counted rolling over as much as seven times before falling back into water. Spinner Dolphins will often bow-ride. They are found in small to very large groups, and sometimes they mix with schools of other dolphins. They are frequently found in association with tuna.

Synonym (s)
Stenella microps Gray, 1846
Stenella roseiventris Wagner, 1853
Clymene alope Gray, 1866
Clymene microps Gray, 1866
Clymene stenorhynchus Gray, 1866
Clymenia alope Gray, 1868
Clymenia longirostris Flower, 1884
Clymenia microps Gray, 1871
Clymenia roseiventris Flower, 1884
Clymenia stenorhynchus Gray, 1868
Delphinus alope Gray, 1846
Delphinus longirostris Gray, 1828
Delphinus microps Gray, 1846
Delphinus roseiventris Wagner, 1846
Delphinus stenorhynchus Gray, 1866
Fretidelphis roseiventris Iredale & Troughton, 1934
Prodelphinus alope Flower, 1885
Prodelphinus longirostris Flower, 1885
Prodelphinus microps Flower, 1885
Prodelphinus roseiventris Gervais in Van Beneden & Gervais, 1880
Stenella alope Fraser, 1950
Stenella microps Miller & Kellogg, 1955
Steno roseiventris Gray, 1866

Common Name (s)
• Long Snouted Dolphin (English)
• Long Beaked Dolphin (English)
• Spinner Dolphin (English)
• Long Snouted Spinner Dolphin (English)
• Long Beaked Porpoise (English)
• Small Headed Dolphin (English)
• Spinner (English)
• Spinner Porpoise (English)
• Central American spinner (English)
• Dwarf Spinner Dolphin (English)
• Eastern Spinner (English)
• Gray's Spinner (English)
• Long-Beaked Dolphin (English)
• Long-Snouted Spinner Dolphin (English)
• Red-Bellied Dolphin (English)
• Rollover (English)
• Whitebelly Spinner (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Fishing has a major impact on population of this species.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Open Sea
Prey:  Fish and squid.
IUCN Status:  Data Deficient


• Kerala, Kozhikode Coast INDIA (Record: 1976-1980, 1980)
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode INDIA (Record: 19/09/1981)
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo (Lat: 11.48) (Long: 79.76) INDIA (Record: 15/05/1982)
• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 07/1983-12/1986, 15/09/2007)
• Maharashtra, Off Janjira Murud INDIA (Record: 05/03/1986)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 29/08/1989, 2008)
• Karnataka, Mangalore (Lat: 11.76) (Long: 74.16) INDIA (Record: 28/12/1990)
• Andhra Pradesh, Off Vishakhapatnam INDIA (Record: 21/08/1991)
• Red Sea
• Bay of Bengal INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Lat: 13.08) (Long: 79.76) INDIA (Record: 09/2004-10/2004)
• Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada (Lat: 16.85) (Long: 80.16) INDIA (Record: 09/2004-10/2004)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Harbour (Lat: 13.08) (Long: 79.76) INDIA (Record: 09/2004-10/2004)
• Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada Harbour (Lat: 16.85) (Long: 80.16) INDIA (Record: 09/2004)
• Karnataka, Mangalore Harbour (Lat: 12.85) (Long: 74.81) INDIA (Record: 09/2004)
• Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada INDIA (Record: 20/09/2004)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA (Record: 04/10/2004, 26/10/2004)
• Karnataka, Mangalore INDIA (Record: 08/09/2004)

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
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Molur, S and Walker, S (1998) Mammals of India. Report summary 1998 Zoos' Print Journal Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore 13(9) 7 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Lal Mohan, RS (1998) Dolphins of Kanyakumari coast and its status Zoos' Print Journal Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore 13 55-57 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • 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 -
  • Index to Organism Names (ION) Available at -
  • Perrin, WF; Dolar, MLL and D, Robineau (1999) Spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) of the western Pacific and southeast Asia: Pelagic and shallow water forms Marine Mammal Science 15(4) Available at - Zoological Records
  • 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
  • Baldwin, R (1995) Whale and dolphin research in the UAE Tribulus 5(2)
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Borkar, M (2005) Marine mammals, turtles and crocodiles: A field manual NIO, Goa 63 pp Available at - NIO
  • Karuppiah, S; Subramanian, A and Obbard, JP (2005) Organochlorine residues in odontocete species from the southeast coast of India Chemosphere Elsevier 66(7) 891-897 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 -
  • Yousuf, KSSM; Kumarran, RP; Vivekanandan, E and Rajagopalan, M (2010) Morphometric characteristics of spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris (Gray, 1828) from Bay of Bengal Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India Cochin 52(1) 42-47 Available at -
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at -
  • Yousuf, KSSM; Anoop, AK; Anoop, B; Afsal, VV; Vivekanandan, E; Kumarran, RP; Rajagopalan, M; Krishnakumar, PK and Jayasankar, P (2009) Observations on incidental catch of cetaceans in three landing centres along the Indian coast Marine Biodiversity Records Cambridge University Press 4 1-5 Available at -
  • Jayasankar, P; Anoop, B; Rajgopalan, M; Yousuf, KMM; Reynold, P; Krishnakumar, PK; Afsal, VV and Krishnan, AA (2009) Indian Efforts on the Inventorization of Marine Mammal Species for their Conservation and Management Asian Fisheries Science Asian Fisheries Society, Manila, Philippines 22 143-155 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

Back to Search