A pair of Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas

Spotted dolphins

There are five species of spotted dolphin. They are known for their acrobatic displays, leaping out of the water and flying through the air. They're also very intelligent and social animals, travelling in large groups and often mixing with other species of dolphin. Despite the name, species such as the Atlantic spotted dolphin begin life without markings, only acquiring the characteristic spots as they get older. The introduction of 'dolphin-friendly' tuna capture methods reversed a population decline. The subsequent rise in numbers has helped make the pantropical spotted dolphin one of the most numerous dolphins in the world. This change in fishing practice may have less beneficial consequences for other marine life.

Scientific name: Stenella

Rank: Genus

Common names:

  • Bridled dolphins,
  • Spinner dolphins,
  • Striped dolphins


The following habitats are found across the Spotted dolphins distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web