T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Dolphin (Dusky) Lagenorhynchus obscurus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Lagenorhynchus
Species: L. obscurus
Binomial name: Lagenorhynchus obscurus
Common name: Dusky dolphin

The dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) is a dolphin found in coastal waters of the Southern Hemisphere in temperate and subantarctic waters between around 26°S and 55°N. 
In New Zealand the dusky dolphin's population centres around East Cape and Cape Palliser on the North Island. They are rare in more northern waters. They are found on the South Island east coast in the cold waters of the Southland’s and Canterbury’s currents. They are also found around Campbell, Auckland, and the Chatham Islands. Their main populations occurring in Kaikoura and Admiralty Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. At Kaikora there large groups of several hundred to over 1000 present all year round with individuals moving north to feed at Admiralty in winter months. There are thought to be between 12,000 and 20,000 individuals in New Zealand (Markowitz, 2004).

Dusky dolphins grow up to 78 cm in length and can weigh up to 85 kg. They have virtually no beak, and their blunt dorsal fin is not hooked. Their back and tail are a bluish-black colour and the underside of the body is white. 
Dusky dolphins prey on a variety of fish and squid species. 
Dusky dolphins interact with a variety of other marine mammals including common dolphins, long-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, Hector’s dolphins, killer whales, New Zealand fur seals, whales (Humpback, Sperm, Southern right).

Dusky dolphins off Kaikoura



A comparison of a Dusky dolphins size compared with a human.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/